musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Write Spot: Doreen Pendgracs

Welcome to the seventeenth edition of The Write Spot, a bi-weekly author series spotlighting the many and varied places where writers write. My guest this week is Canadian author Doreen Pendgracs, aka 'Doreen the Chocolate Queen' – and, fellow chocolate lovers, if that didn't grab your attention, I don't know what will!

Doreen Pendgracs has been a freelance writer and author since 1993. She has written dozens of articles for numerous periodicals and websites on topics ranging from travel and lifestyle to entrepreneurship, and more. She has co-authored two books: the 1st edition of Frommer's Newfoundland and Labrador, and The Manitoba Book of Everything, a 2008 Canadian bestseller. In 2010, Doreen released her first solo effort: Before You Say Yes … a Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards, published by Dundurn Press.

Following the release of her latest title, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate – an award-winning chocolate travel book that guides readers to the finest chocolate and chocolate experiences of the world – she became known as 'Doreen the Chocolate Queen'. A tasty title, and one Doreen she says she loves having.

As part of the Chocolatour project, Doreen is forging the new niche of "chocolate travel" or as she like to call it, Chocolatourism. She has travelled around the world in search of remarkable chocolate and chocolate experiences. She loves sharing her research (chocolate samples) with friends and family as focus groups.

Have you ever been slathered in molten chocolate? Doreen has. And she says it’s an incredibly sensual experience that every chocolate lover should take time to enjoy.

When she's not off questing for chocolate, Doreen makes her home in Manitoba with her husband and her writing assistant, Jimmy the cat, who takes far too many sleep breaks.

Welcome, Doreen. Please tell us about your Write Spot.

Because I am a travel writer, I think my writing process is quite different than someone who writes fiction or other types of writing.

My writing usually begins on the road in the form of brief notes I take in mini notebooks that I always have along with me. I take lots of pictures to augment the notes I've taken.

Those notes will eventually turn into blog posts, and then when I'm writing the next volume of my book, the blog posts will be imported and expanded to become chapters or profiles. So, when it comes to writing, it can start halfway around the world, and evolve through different stages until I sit down at my desktop iMac and polish it into pages for the book. (This is a photo of my loft office/writing space in its perfect tidiness, which is not the usual. PC now replaced with a Mac.)

Other than your computer or laptop, what's the one thing you couldn't be without in your Write Spot?

Chocolate, of course!

Of course! (You may be the luckiest writer ever!) 

What are you working on now?

Right now, I am continuing to research volume II of Chocolatour. The working title for that is Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate Adventures. I learned after blogging and writing the first volume of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate, that my readers are most interested in my exotic adventures and not so much in the chocolate. There are several other chocolate bloggers who focus strictly on the chocolate. My focus is on experiential chocolate travel, and my goal is to encourage readers to travel the world for chocolate ecstasy, whether that be in the form of chocolate events, chocolate spas, to indulge in cocoa cuisine, or to eat some of the freshest and most exotic chocolate that you can't get at home because fresh chocolate doesn't travel well.

I hope to have volume II of Chocolatour published by the end of this year, but it may not be until early 2017 as I still have a fair amount of travel ahead to complete the task of showcasing the best of the Americas and the Caribbean.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My website can be found at I'm pretty proud of it, as I just had it professionally designed and relaunched last fall. We combined blog posts from three different sites I'd had over the previous six years: my writer's blog, my travel blog, and my newish Chocolatour site which I'd been using for chocolate events and updates about my book. It had become unmanageable to have 3 different sites and keep them all fresh. I used to have an old static website as well, but have since abandoned that as upkeep was expensive due to the old HTML coding. Now, I work exclusively with WordPress and it's easy to change and update myself—with the help of a terrific web manager whom I've been working with over the past few years.

Because I am continually trying to expand my reach, I am active on many platforms. You'll find me at:

Facebook Author Page: Doreen Pendgracs, Author 
Facebook Page for Volunteerism: Before You Say Yes 
Twitter: @wizardofwords
Instagram: chocolatour
Pinterest: chocolatour
LinkedIn: Doreen Pendgracs
Tumblr: dpendgracs
Goodreads: Doreen Pendgracs 

Thanks for visiting, Doreen. I'm craving a chocolate break – right now! You've got me dreaming of a bit of Chocolatouring, too. That chocolate wrap sounds so very, very decadent! 

For all you chocolate connoisseurs, here are the delectable details:

Chocolatour takes you around the world, in search of the most beautiful, innovative, and delectable chocolate and noteworthy chocolate events.

In this first volume of Chocolatour, author Doreen Pendgracs introduces you to chocolate masters in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Holland, as well as the UK. She also takes you to cacao growing regions in Peru, Ecuador, and St. Lucia and includes a fascinating chapter on the health benefits of chocolate. Plus a global A-Z Chocolate Lovers' Guide for the chocolate journey of your life.

Buy the book: Chocolatour | 

About The Write Spot:
I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's backstage photos from my favourite play, a peek into the kitchen where a chef is working her culinary magic, or simply a glimpse through an uncurtained window into a stranger's private world, there's an undeniable thrill of discovery, a sense of secrets shared. It's no surprise, then, that I'm immensely curious about where other writers do their work. I've blogged about it before in this post about my own 'write spot' and so enjoyed the comments, I was inspired to launch a regular feature here at stillpoint. Watch for The Write Spot every other Wednesday and join me as I discover the many and varied places where writers write.

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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At 9:28 am, Blogger Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thanks very much for profiling me on your lovely site, Cheryl. Hard to believe how huge that PC looks in the picture, but I didn't dare try to take a pic of my paper-laden desk right now! I look forward to 'meeting' some of your readers.

At 10:08 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

My pleasure, Doreen. Thanks for sharing your chocolate travels with us! (I, too, am always amazed by how big and clunky our old computers look. Then again, remember typewriters? ;-) Glad you got that iMac!)

At 1:54 pm, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Doreen,
Excellent post! I'm also a chocolate lover and am fascinated by the concept of researching it. Best of luck with all your literary endeavors. :)

At 3:53 pm, Blogger Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thanks, Joanne. I had no idea in 2009 when I began researching chocolate, that it would take over my life. But what a decadently delicious way to go!

At 10:23 pm, Blogger Gabriele Goldstone said...

I'm curious...what came first, the love of chocolate, or your love of traveling? What a great combo!

At 4:45 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

Slathered in molten chocolate - oh my Doreen that does sound very sensuous. You certainly latched on to a great idea when you came up with combining travel and chocolate and good for you. Happy chocolate travels and give your writing assistant a rub from me - that would be the cat not your husband.

At 12:59 pm, Anonymous Melissa Abramovitz said...

I very much enjoyed reading about you and your writing process, Doreen (even though I'm one of the few people in the world who do not like chocolate!). Thanks to Cheryl for posting this great interview/profile.

At 11:32 pm, Blogger Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thx for all the great responses to my profile!

Gabriele: I loved chocolate all my life, but my love of travel exploded after my first long road trip. Being able to merge those two loves truly is a blessing and a privilege.

Susan: Jimmy says thx for the soft touch.

Melissa: you truly are in the minority. Have you tried chocolate lately, or are you still thinking that chocolate is sweet and gives you headaches? The new chocolate offers so many options to explore. You might surprise yourself!


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