The Shortest Month, Busy Again

Better busy than bored, I always say – no really, I say this all the time. Ask anyone. And somehow, February, short though it is always manages to be super busy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a quick update from the Modern Parlance media landscape and that’s what I have on my to do list for today.

On the Banburian, I’ve got the most recent editions of ‘Jones on Food and Travel‘ for your listening pleasure. What is it, you ask? A travel and food show hosted by photographer and travel writer Peter Jones who was kind enough to invite me to do a weekly spot called Deborah Dishes on Food. I’ve talked Peach Melba, food worth traveling for, national dishes and wacky food festivals. Also – I get to be a food taster every other week. We’ve tried everything from cheese to Caribbean food, fish and chips to pork pies. And chocolate. My goodness, the chocolate.



Full Steam Ahead Into Summer!

Summer has started with an absolute bustle of activity across the the Modern Parlance landscape.

The Banburian, a blog about Banbury and the surrounding areas, launched in May and has already gotten some amazing feedback. The latest posts include a visitor report and a picture gallery from the 2016 Banbury & District Show, a push for outstanding local pet rescue, BARKS whose felines need new sneeze guards and some tips for the Book Mad who might find themselves in Banbury. There’s also a Banburian twitter feed to keep us as up to date as possible with things you want to know, need to know and just may find interesting about the area.


Fabulous Foodie (the very first of the Modern Parlance Blogs) turned 10 years old on June 18. We have talked turkey, gotten baked – uh, I mean, baking – gone multi-media with podcasts  and launched a Fabulous Foodie Facebook group. What a ten years it has been. Can’t wait for the next ten!


Over on Greater Gotham, we’ve refocused on the travel and sight-seeing end of things and there are two new photo galleries – one from a day trip to Lichfield, UK and one featuring the varied and very personal messages you find on a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Both are the work and appear courtesy of Modern Parlance’s in-house photographer, dungeekin.


And that’s another exciting expansion, Modern Parlance Photos. We source images and photos for our projects from a number of well-respected and reputable sources but whenever and where ever possible, we like to use our own work. To that end, we have established a number of collections (food, architecture, travel, flora & fauna) and are adding more all the time. These images are suitable for use in ebooks, blogs, social media updates – any sort of digital publication – and we are happy to make them available for use by others upon agreement of terms. Visit our flickr page for an idea of the work we do and if you’re interested in a particular image or set of images, please contact us for details.


Finally, I invite you to visit and “like” the Modern Parlance Facebook page – you will find real time updates on what’s happening on the blogs, on the eBooks front and other Modern Parlance news as well as links I’ve found worth reading – and therefore worth recommending as well.









All The World’s A Stage – #Shakespeare400

Lots of Shakespeare events happening at the Globe & around the globe. All the world’s a stage, indeed.

I’ll be putting together a page of relevant links but check out the hashtag #Shakespeare400 on Twitter for a ton of links to info, online exhibits, schedules of performances, etc. Here are a few quick highlights I’ve made a note of:


  • Shakespeare’s Globe is throwing themselves into the 1616-2016 of it all  with great abandon – as one would expect. They have a year long series of events and performances to mark the occasion.
  • For cinema lovers, there is a partnership between the British Film Institute and the British Council called “Shakespeare on Film” that takes 18 major film adaptations of Shakespeare on a tour of over 100 countries around the world. There will also be extesive screenings at BFI Southbank in London (fabulous to visit in any case)and in cinemas across the UK. If you like geographical context with your movie going, there is also film festival in Stratford-on-Avon.
  • If you are in the Chicago area, you are in luck! Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebrates everything Shakespeare with a yearlong arts festival in 2016.
  • If you feel like staying home and doing your Bardish celebrating in your PJs and slippers, there’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, Henry VI part 1 & 2 with Hugh Bonneville, Sophie Okonedo, Michael Gambon, Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch and is due to be broadcast on BBC Two in April.

Continue reading “All The World’s A Stage – #Shakespeare400”

Spacelore: Storytelling Among the Stars

I am thrilled to announce that Spacelore, the latest title in the Modern Parlance Press imprint, is now available. JB Zimmerman (author of the very popular urban fantasy novel, New York Magician) has set his sights on the stars, spinning tales of adventures, horrors and surprises across space. I’ve been hugely excited about this one. Some stories will make you laugh, some make you cry – and I don’t mind admitting that a couple of the scary ones kept me up at night.

spacelore_coverWherever you find people, you will find stories. Stories of triumph and loss, of pain and joy, of caution and adventure. To find them, you must seek out the places where tales are told. These are the tales you might hear if you found yourself in a space traveler’s bar.

With settings ranging from the early spaceflight era to the distant future, from Earth to unknown star systems, this collection of short stories can be yours without having to travel the spaceways and buy disreputable characters disreputable drinks in disreputable dives!

by JB Zimmerman
Available from: Amazon | Amazon UK

Also available by JB Zimmerman:  THE NEW YORK MAGICIAN

From the reviews:

“… a great mix of action, noir, and the supernatural that will have you smiling to yourself every time you catch one of the many references to mythology, magic, and both contemporary and historical New York City.”

“… the wit of a detective novel, the firepower of a good action movie, and a hell of a lovingly detailed city for the plot, protagonist, and characters. What’s not to love?”

nymMichel Wibert knows New York City better than most. He knows about the magic that crackles above the rooftops and beneath the streets. He knows about the creatures and beings – considered mythical to most and gods to some – playing their long and complicated game across the city. Until recently, he’s kept to the sidelines – watching their moves, keeping their secrets. But now things have shifted and it’s not clear whether he’s player or pawn. If he wants to survive, he’ll need to decide which is his true role.

Available from: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple

Autumnal Authorial Update

The temps are dropping, articles are going up and ebooks are on the way. It’s been a busy few weeks in my corner of the writing world.

knife&forkAnother Banburyshire Info restaurant review published – this one for Knife & Fork, my first experience with pop-up restaurants and I’ll be honest, I had very little idea what to expect. I knew it wouldn’t be like dining in a regular restaurant – set menu, for one thing. In short, I loved it – the food and the unique dining experience. Will definitely do it again and keen to seek out others. Have you been to a pop-up or home hosted restaurant? What did you think?

Finished editing another ebook for Modern Parlance Press for one of my favourite writers- a sci-fi short story collection (coming out soon – more to follow as soon as I can on this). As noted by the author, the single author short story collection isn’t as commonly seen these days. Oh there are some but many fewer than when I was young. I had tons of them growing up – almost all mysteries. There’s something deliciously bite-sized about a well-constructed short story.

BI_logoWrote a series of featured articles for Banburyshire Info on organic cosmetics. Learned some interesting – and surprising – stuff about what can and cannot be deemed organic in the cosmetics marketplace. It’s much less regulated than organic food in this way.

Two new Banbury pieces that came out of my habit of over-researching for something else.


  • Boo! Haunted Banbury” just a smidgen too late for Halloween but never mind. It’s read for next year and I am sure Father Bernard (the resident ghost at Whatley Hall) won’t mind waiting. He’s been doing so for centuries!


Blogging Heats Up Over July

There were so many things I should have been doing in July – wen won’t even discuss how much more attention the garden needs or the every growing list of small jobs that need doing around the house. But July is – and always has been – an especially foodie month for me so it’s not surprising that Fabulous Foodie heated up over the course of the month.

Mary-Berry-Paul-Hollywood-594359Especially after the news of Great British Bake Off‘s return broke. Suddenly it was ALL about baking.

  • Fabulous Foodie’s Tips for Better Baking:  At Fabulous Foodie, we’re very excited about the return of Great British Bake Off next week.  So much so that we’re finding it hard to think about anything else. To be honest, we haven’t actually tried that hard to think of anything else. I mean, it’s Bake Off!
  • More Tips for Better Baking: The count down to Great British Bake Off continues and so does Fabulous Foodie’s Tips for Better Baking.
  • The Old Bake and Switch:   Have you run out of a key ingredient or forget to buy it?  Maybe you only discovered mid-bake that you have no brown sugar. Don’t worry – we won’t tell  Mary or Paul and see if we can’t come up with a “save” of sorts. Don’t let these little hiccups stop you from baking up a storm. Swap and switch – and bake on!
  • Of course, Fabulous Foodie isn’t all just about food – it’s about culinary history and quirky foodie facts as well. Bastille Day (July 14) presented a perfect opportunity to delve deeper into both – with the story of how a Crafty Cardinal Contributed to Cutlery The French DO make me laugh.
  • We’re also not adverse to a bit if a tipple on occasion over on Fabulous Foodie so we were delighted to find it was Pina Colada Day on July 10.  We were even more delighted when we discovered – in the Tale Of Many Ramóns for Piña Colada Day – a bit of a debate behind the origins of one of the world’s most popular cocktails.

June: Bustin’ Out All Over

June was all about the attempt to a) stay cool and b) keep the mint from taking over the whole of the back garden. The mint question was addressed early.

My Own Mock-jito: As the month started, I was in that “create my own drink” mode again. Last time the result was a cranky apple/pom variation. This time I was looking for a way to use up the VAST QUANTITIES of mint. The results were a refreshing, “too early for the bar bell” mock-jito.

One of Many Milk Days: A lot of countries have a national day devoted to milk but the FAO picked June 1 to be World Milk Day, bringing everyone together on the assumption that no one would mind a second day. Of course, they also declared the last Wednesday in Sept each year to be World School Milk Day so it’s possible that the folks at the FAO have a teeny milk obsession.

Summer’s Greatest Hits: The temperatures finally headed up, up, up – and so we offered a round up of classic summer posts from the Fabulous Foodie archives. Just re-reading some of these can make me feel cooler.

From May Day to Memorial Day

May. Bookended by holidays, summer dancing tantalizingly close and for many, graduations loom large. It’s been a long time since I had to worry about any sort of graduation but the whole holiday and summer part? Yes, that’s very much part of my May experience. So were these topics:

Super Easy Two Ingredient Biscuits: Biscuits (that’s biscuits in the American sense) so quick, so easy that it’s almost ludicrous.


May is Salad Month: What gives you more scope for experimentation and improvisation than a salad? Winter salads, summer salads, entree salads, starters salads, side salads. Salads in all shades of green, tomato salads, egg salads, rice salads, potato salads, tuna salads, pasta salads, … you get the point. This crisp and crunchy salad round-up will keep in salads for days.

Easy-Peasy Donuts for Donut Week: Let’s get this out of the way immediately – doughnut or donut. We all know what we mean and I’m sure I speak for many when I say, “stop quibbling – let’s eat!”


My April Content Line-Up

Kicking off the month was a piece I had great fun writing – We think… we could learn a thing or two from American tourists.” It appeared in the April 2015 issue of The Club, a monthly digital magazine for British Airways’ Executive Club members and was that month’s installment of the “We think …” series.


Travel aside, April was very much about blogging closer to home. In a flurry of additions to both both from Greater Gotham and Fabulous Foodie, I wandered off to see what was happening around town.


What prompted this flurry of blogging closer to home? Well, a) the weather had been beautiful and b) Banbury seems to be either overlooked or misunderstood as a location with a lot of offer. There are various efforts underway by community groups and community minded residents alike to remedy this and I was inspired by their enthusiasm.

Of course, it wasn’t all about blogging Banbury. After all, April is BLT Sandwich Month and I wasn’t going to let THAT pass without comment. Over on Greater Gotham, I spent a bit of time on Gotham itself when my interests in history, design and marketing came together in New York City World Fairs – both of which opened in April of their respective years.

So a busy and productive month all in all. Hope yours was too. More to come!

March Marches On Out

March on Fabulous Foodie: I’ve already touched upon the fact that March is Sauce Month but there were other things afoot as well.

  • Happy Spanish Paella Day: I’ve talked about paella before in A Plethora of Paella and Ode to Paella – and reading either or both of these will definitely get you in the paella party mood. But it’s not really Spanish Paella Day until you’ve watched the paella episode of Posh Nosh. Ole!
  • Covering Chocolate Covered Raisins Day:  Happy Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, everyone! Go to the movies, grab your Raisinets and celebrate.
  • Culinary Curation: Food Museums: It’s Museum Week over on Twitter (follow the #MuseumWeek hashtag) and naturally my thoughts flew to food museums.


Things that have grabbed out attention of late:

  • PR firms at a make-or-break moment on content creation (February 27, 2015 via PR Week): A lot of merging, evolving, aligning and restructuring going on this – in my opinion – spot on – view of where things are going. Which ties in with what I’ve always believed – the key isn’t just working harder. It’s working smarter.
  • Sainsburys Living Archive:  I feel like this was the content gem of my month – Making most of 145 yrs worth of photos & weaving a seriously branded digital narrative