All posts by Regina Bethory

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores, sushi restaurants, and small town cafes.

Travel Today: Washington DC PT 2

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In my previous travel post about Washington DC, I discussed some of the places to see and things to do. However, this post will focus mostly on some of our favorite places to grab a delicious bite to eat. I will say, most of the restaurants we venture to are on the upscale side of things, especially when we travel. That being said, if you’re traveling on a budget, you might want to look a bit further into some of the places I suggest to you today.

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The Source by Wolfgang Puck

We stumbled upon The Source located at 575 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20565 by merely roaming around the city. We had no idea that they offered a five course dim sum brunch on the weekends (I believe it was a Saturday) until we took our seats. Of course that’s what we ended up getting!

While the restaurant itself had a long wait to be seated, we graciously took our seats at the bar so that we wouldn’t have to wait. This is a tactic that we often use to avoid the long wait of a popular restaurant. So take that with you as an added travel tip: if you don’t have reservations, sit at the bar!

The award-winning Bloody Mary of The Source in Washington DC.
On the left are the pork and cabbage dumplings and on the right are tiger shrimp and carrot dim sum.
Our five courses of Dim Sum included a steak and egg dish.

BreadSoda is not easily seen from the street as it is located below street level. I suggest finding a spot to park and walking around as there are many other nearby restaurants in the area. Located at 2233 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, it has a down-home pub-like feel. The setting is small, intimate and includes pool tables! Unfortunately for us, the pool tables and the Battleship game were being used but there are others to choose from.

For lunch, we both split a bowl of soup and ordered separate sandwiches. The food was delicious and the establishment as a whole wasn’t overly pricey. They also had a decent selection of brews to choose from.

The start of the Scrabble game at BreadSoda in Washington DC. I let him win…
Sushi Hachi

Located at 735 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, Sushi Hachi has been open for less that a year. When we visited, word hadn’t spread too much about the venue but it still drew a small crowd. We ordered a seven course meal that included sashimi, wagyu beef and dessert. Every course was exceptional and presented a unique buffet of flavors.

The wagyu beef came out sliced and raw, accompanied with a searing hot stone to cook it with. Oh, and if you order sake, they let you pick which sake glasses you’d like to drink from…

The Wagyu Beef portion of our 7 course meal at Sushi Hachi.
Jinya Ramen Bar

We discovered the Jinya Ramen Bar thanks to a popular smartphone app called Yelp. We use it often when traveling to discover places to eat. As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, we are a big fan of Asian cuisine. Good ramen can be hard to come by. Where I’m currently living we have to fight tunnel traffic back-ups and drive at least 30 minutes (if there is no traffic) to get to the nearest ramen joint. With traffic it can take over an hour to get there. Frankly, I’d kill for a good ramen joint in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

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Jinya has two stories but was  a packed house when we arrived that night for dinner. As before, we circumvented the long wait for a table by opting to sit at the bar. Just like with the popular Vietnamese dish, pho, ramen is all about the broth. Located at 1336 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, this joint is worth a stop.

Our sake from Jinya. The ramen is delicious.

On the next trip to DC, I plan to eat at only Vegan restaurants. Stay tuned for more posts on traveling tips, things to do and places to eat.

Happy Trails!


Travel Today: Washington DC Pt 1

Disclosure: Hilton ads in this post are a paid promotional message. We are proud Hilton Honors Members and may receive compensation from associated links on this page.

My entire life I have longed to travel. I want to travel the world! However, I kept putting traveling off on my to do list because of various reasons (or rather excuses). You see, I was the person who often said, “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t have time.” But here is the kicker, wanting to travel and see the world doesn’t have to start with an international trip to seven different countries. It can start in your own backyard.

There are so many towns and cities across the world, within your home country and within your home state or providence that offer things to do and see. It doesn’t have to cost your life savings. I didn’t realize that until about 2-3 years ago when we started exploring our own town and traveling to other states. Then I realized that even though I wasn’t on a beach in Tahiti, I was still traveling. While lying on a beach sounds fun, there is so much more to explore!

So if you think you can’t afford it, think again! My partner and I are by no means rich. We are typical working class folks. We both still hold day jobs where we have to get dressed and drive into work. However, we didn’t let that stop us. And neither should you! Thus, here begins my travel blogs where I will share will all of you where we went, what we did, where we ate and where we stayed. With suggestions on what to see, what to avoid and what to pack, I certainly hope this entices you to explore these destinations.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Washington DC, America’s capital.

Washington DC

Washington DC is about a  2.5 hour drive from where we currently live. We usually leave early on Saturday morning and head home on Sunday afternoon. Our stays are never long but you could stay in Washington DC for a month and never drink at the same coffee shop twice. There are so many things to see and do that it can be overwhelming… especially considering that many of them are free! Overall, here are some of our favorite stops.

The National Zoo

The Washington DC Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is part of the Smithsonian Institution. While admission is free, parking is not. It cost us $22 to park for the day but it was worth it. While it was a bit chilly outside, the park wasn’t crowded or cramped. Since it was the off season, amny of the concession shops were not open but we were happy to walk around and see what animals we could find.

Many of the exhibits have both inside and outside areas that you can view. This way, if the animal is cold you don’t have to worry about missing out. The indoor exhibits are heated and in some of them the animals roam free, like the one pictured below! But don’t worry, it’s completely safe.

The zoo’s address is 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008.

The best spot:

My favorite exhibit was the Lion exhibit. Part of me wished I had recorded the event on camera and part of me is glad that I saw it with my own eyes instead of watching it through a screen. The “alpha” male lion was separated from the others and for whatever reason was putting up a huge fuss that morning as we strode by. Hearing a full grown lion’s roar in real life is nothing compared to hearing it on a television special. Let me tell you, if I had heard that sound in the wilds of Africa, I would have peed my pants. To this day, it is one of my favorite experiences in a zoo and I try to visit every zoo in every city I visit!

We also met a very friendly porcupine. I think he thought we had food. Lastly, don’t miss the seals and sea lions. They are wondrous creatures!

Animals roam free in certain indoor exhibits! When my partner found out there was a sloth on the second story of this one, he vacated quickly. They give him nightmares. Luckily for him, he never spotted the little guy.
The National Museum of Natural History

Located at 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560, the NMNH is phenomenal. Free of admission, you could easily spend all day here. There is so much to see!

Favorite place: It’s a toss up between the Narwhal Exhibit and the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. Narwhal’s are among my partner’s favorite creatures so I list that mainly for him. And let’s be honest, they are unicorn fish… that’s pretty fascinating!

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I was personally entranced by the Hall of Human Origins. In one section they have a display of human skulls found around the world during different times. It’s astounding! Even though I did take a picture, I encourage you to go see it for yourself. The exhibit itself is huge and it’s truly amazing to see how far we’ve come as a species. As a writer, it opens my mind to so many possibilities and that’s why I love it.

Cave art replica in the Hall of Human Origins.
Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is a military graveyard that spans over 600 acres. Climbing to the top of the hill, there are graves as far as the eye can see. There is a small museum at the top which has free admission. However, if you go here make sure to schedule a viewing of “The Changing of the Guard.” It should be every 30 minutes in the summer time and every 2 hours in the dead of winter. The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony in which soldier’s switch places in their watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Located at the top of the hill, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, marks the grave of an unnamed soldier from World War I. His grave is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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There are many notable graves here such as President John F. Kennedy and Hyman G. Rickover. As someone who has worked for a US Defense Contractor, as well as my partner who is US Navy, it was very important to us that we find Rickover’s burial site. If you visit around Christmas time, you’ll notice wreaths on every tombstone.

Tombstone of Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy.
Walk the streets!

While I would highly suggest booking an Uber for longer distances, we were happy to walk from our Hilton Hotel room to many of the sites we wished to see. However, we also got a little lost. The unexpected detour turned fruitful as we found unique homes and alleyways painted with local art. There are plenty of other people walking around in the daylight so you can feel safe in the city.

A row of homes in Washington DC
Art Museums

Did you know that there are over ten art museums in DC? There are! You could spend a week in art museums there. Best of all, they are free! I normally don’t make it a huge habit of taking pictures in art museums. After all, no photos can ever do them justice.

If you like to have your mind stimulated, some exhibits are interactive! Check out the National Portrait Gallery, The National Gallery of Art, or the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There are literally so many to choose from you’ll find yourself coming back for more.

An exhibition in one of the many art galleries scattered around DC. Photos will never do these works of art justice.

Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum

I’m already itching to go back here. I was so exhausted by the time we ventured in that I didn’t last but 2 hours. We toured the ground floor and watched a 45 minute video in the domed theater (it’s amazing to have a screen that spans the entire ceiling!)

Space is another topic that can get your creative mojo firing if you’re an artist or writer. We’ll be sure to stop by this place again on our next visit. It’s a reminder of how truly spectacular human beings can be and how far we’ve come.

The National Air and Space Museum is free of admission and located at 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560.

An exhibit from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC
Don’t stop there!

Lastly, don’t stick to just my list. Explore! Washington DC is a wondrous place filled with history. There are Presidential Monuments, parks, fantastic restaurants (post to come Thursday and will be linked here), and alleyways filled with art! The White House even gives tours. Need a place to stay? There are Hilton Hotels at every price range you can imagine and most of them are within walking distance to some of DC’s finest sights.

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Why do we choose Hilton? Because there is always a high level of cleanliness and hospitality no matter where we go. This way, we always feel taken care of and know what to expect. That’s why we love Hilton Brand Hotels. It’s our safe haven and home away from home.

Fear not, if you’re not a Hilton fan there are many accommodations in the area. I encourage you to explore Washington DC in all it’s glory!

Happy Trails!



Artwork found in an alleyway in Washington DC.

7 Reasons You Should Be Reading Comics

In my previous post about where to find motivation as a fiction author, I mentioned the beauty and inspiration that can be found in comic books. I didn’t start reading comics until I was 30 years old. Like many people who don’t read them, I figured comics were all about Batman, Superman and other heroes that had become very mainstream and commercialized. I was so glad to be proven wrong.

It was my partner who got me into comics. He has been a fan for years. The first time he took me into a comic book store, I was overwhelmed by the variety of characters and genres. In many cases, I couldn’t see the works being made into novels because the artwork was so vivid and grand.

As a minimalist, comics were a struggle for me at first because I needed the physical copies. Each volume was like a story and an art book in one. Sorry avid e-reader fans but it’s very difficult to read them on Kindles and Nooks. I do suggest purchasing the physical copies. These gems are so worth it!

Clicking on any of the pictures below will lead you to the Amazon page for that volume, providing you with detailed descriptions of plot as well as reviews. These are currently my top seven reading recommendations and also the seven reasons you should be reading comics. Enjoy!

1. Low

This was the first comic series that I picked out for myself. I was looking for something based underwater to help inspire me on a piece I was working on titled The World Beneath (still a WIP). I did a little research and Low by Rick Remender was the only thing I could find and behold- it had outstanding reviews so I purchased volume 1.

Remender has been quoted as saying that he normally writes such dark characters and how odd it was for him to write one of the main characters in Low because she is so optimistic it’s almost annoying at times. But it pays off. Low takes you into a violent and imaginative world filled with the light of hope and the darkness of despair. Not recommended for children. Expect sex, nudity and violence. The links to each volume are in the pictures below.

2. Descender

I cannot tell you what first inspired me to pick up this story but it quickly became one of my favorites! Written by Jeff Lemire, Descender is the tale of a boy robot looking for his long-lost childhood companion and that childhood companion, now grown into a man, looking for his childhood robot – amidst a war where humans and robots don’t exactly see eye to eye… A strange twist of Romeo and Juliet? Perhaps.

While there is some violence and adult themes, this series is far more child friendly than the one previously mentioned. As with Low, I believe there is only one or two more volumes left in the series so join in on the fun! As before, the pictures below will send you to their Amazon page where you can view plot details and reviews.

3. Animosity

Animosity took me a while to find. It wasn’t readily available in our local comic shops at the time and shipped from overseas when I ordered from Amazon. Now that it’s more popular, it’s easier to to get your hands on. Personally, I’ve only gotten through the first volume but I absolutely loved it. I mean there is a talking hound named Sandor after the Game of Thrones character! Who doesn’t love that?

As with many of these more “adult” comics, there is violence to be expected but no nudity.

4. Heathen

I hope that this one volume isn’t the end of the series. I want this one to continue but haven’t laid eyes on a volume two. Dealing with Vikings and gods, this all female cast portrays some very strong female characters and talks about some of society’s more pressing issues today. If the authors or reading this – I beg of you – CONTINUE!

5. Saga

It took me a while to get into this one which was shocking because it’s extremely popular in comic circles and is considered one of the top best sellers. My partner is a big fan of the series so I borrowed his volumes and started reading.

As with many modern comics, there are strong female characters but Brian K. Vaughn has created a vast ensemble of diverse male and female characters (and robots and ghosts and a cat that can tell when you’re lying…) Part of the reason it took me so long to become attached to this story was because I hate the two main characters. I don’t care for them or their love story. But like with many other popular pieces of fiction (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings) it’s not the main characters that everyone falls in love with. Instead, it’s the vast number of supporting characters who end up with just as big of a role as the series marches on.

Contains sex and violence but not as gory as Harrow County (mentioned below). Saga is extremely creative and like Heathen, touches on a lot of society’s hot button topics on a grander scale.

6. Reborn

I picked this one up on a whim because the back cover got me hook, line and sinker! As far as I can tell this is a stand-alone and won’t have future volumes – which is fine. The story is perfect the way it is and doesn’t leave room for much elaboration.

There were a lot of things in this single volume that I did not see coming. I love it for being so unpredictable as I can usually predict endings beforehand. Any author who can fool me deserves my thanks. The picture below will take you to the Amazon page with full plot descriptions and reviews.

7. Harrow County

I don’t know why I didn’t expect to like this story. After all, I love a good horror. Horror comics usually have their own section in the store but they are still not as great in number as Fantasy and Science Fiction. That doesn’t mean they aren’t as enjoyable!

Sometimes violent yet always imaginative, there is a sense of urgency throughout the series that I love. I find each volume hard to put down once I pick it up. Props to Cullen for writing such an engaging plot and lovable main character. Check out the links below for story details!

Keep an eye out for more recommended reading posts.

Happy Reading!

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3 Ways to Find Motivation as a Fiction Writer

The joy of writing had disappeared. The sense of wonder, awe and accomplishment was no longer there. Suddenly, writing became a grueling task, a chore. It became draining. All motivation was gone. Sound familiar? Has this happened to you? Because it’s definitely happened to me. That’s when I knew I had problem with motivation.

What was my solution?

I had to step away for a bit and get back into writing for fun. I had to regroup and find the joy again. If you’re struggling, I suggest you do the same. Instead of trying to force yourself into some strict routine, take a step back. Take a break. The problem for me was, I didn’t know what to step back to. If it came down to it, I was willing to go back to reading both poorly and well written fan-fiction to get my motivation back. The first thing I did was the hardest…

1. I allowed myself to slack off.

It’s one of the hardest things to do. Beforehand, I felt guilty when I didn’t write. The guilt wouldn’t put me in a writing mood and it went into this downward spiral of guilt and not writing, falling even more behind. I knew that I was doing myself a great disservice because this was my dream- this is my dream and there is no magic hand that’s going to write your book for you- trust me, I’ve looked.

I am not ashamed to admit that I tried my hand at services like Upwork where you can both be a ghostwriter, and hire ghostwriters. (Note: A ghostwriter is someone who writes but doesn’t take creit for their own work. Many times celebrity biographies are written by ghostwriters). To make a long story short, I handed a ghostwriter an outline to have them write short stories for me. In the end, no matter how talented the writer was, it wasn’t my voice- wasn’t my heart and soul. My own ideas felt foreign, strange and robotic. They lacked meaning and feeling. I refused to put my name on it and regarded the entire experience as a waste of time and money – two of my most precious resources. Looking at it as a learning experience makes it appear as less of a waste.

You can tell five different people to draw a tree and get five different distinct drawings of a tree. The bottom line is, only you can make this happen and the point of any goal is to ultimately be happy, right? Life isn’t supposed to be some grueling chore. It’s supposed to be fun. We’re supposed to live life.

2. I went back to reading fan fiction (both good and bad), novels, and I started reading comic books.

I’m not talking about your typical Batman/Avengers/Superman comic books that we all think of. If you haven’t been into a comic shop, I invite you to check out your closest one. Within comic book stores are hidden worlds from secret imaginations. My partner is actually the one who got me into them. He, too, thought of comics as many of us who haven’t read them do. Overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Here are 7 unique and imaginative comics to get you started.

Secondly, have you ever heard the phrase “evil begets evil?” Well it’s the same way with art- art begets art. Introverted? Don’t worry – most people are nowadays. Venturing out to an art gallery or museum won’t kill you. On a budget? Washington D.C. has free museums. We’ve been there several times and never see the same thing twice. I’ll be sure to write a post about our D.C. adventures and link it here.

3. I traveled more.

Piggy-tailing off of the last paragraph, we started traveling and going on more trips, trying new restaurants and experiencing new things. Instead of burying myself in our home and trying to lock myself in a room until the words came out, I got out of the room. I got out of my comfort zone and familiar surroundings. I tried new things.

You don’t have to go far. I’m not asking you to leave the country or even leave the state/providence. Try something new. Live your life and you’ll find that your writing will start to flourish.

Sometimes we often take for granted our own backyards. And by that I mean that we don’t take the time to explore our hometown or the town next door. Eat at a new restaurant, experience new flavors. While routine and habit can be nice, going to the same restaurants, ordering the same foods, seeing films in the same theater, taking the same route to work and even buying groceries in the same store can stall creativity. Your brain needs new experiences, new triggers.

Have you ever noticed that many people who retire and have no goals or ambitions, often deteriorate in health and die soon afterwards? Don’t be that person! Experience life. Set goals up and get out. Your writing will thank you for it!

Happy writing.

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Top 3 Ways to Establish Routine

Dear readers, I’m back. It’s been several months since my last real post and for that, I do apologize. You see, many will tell you that one of the keys of being a successful writer (or being successful at anything) is routine. I confess, I struggle with routine. Big time. This is probably evident will my lack of consistent blog posts.

First and foremost, I envy you. Yes. It’s true. Said it and meant it.

I envy those of you who are students living at home with your parents and those of you who are stay-at-home parents and spouses. I envy the unemployed. Why? Because your schedule is more free and flexible than mine. You can sleep in or take naps in the middle of the day to recover from a bad night’s sleep. You don’t have to deal with people pissing you off at work or during your commute. In a way, I despise what little routine I have.

I have a problem writing at the same time everyday. Truth be told, even though I have a regular Monday-Friday 7-330 job, sometimes (depending on the work load, which is entirely reactive and unpredictable) it becomes a 6am-4pm job or a 5:30 am to 530 pm job. My hours fluctuate but are at least 7-330 and that doesn’t include the traffic (which is horrendous when you have 40,000 employees trying to leave the southern tip of a peninsula at the same time.)

Some authors say that in order to be prolific or successful you need to cram writing in every second you can-like the commute to work. Well, even if I wasn’t driving, I’m one of those types that gets motion sickness if I try to read in a car. I get headaches and nausea. So even taking an Uber would be out of the question (and a waste of money since I have a car in good working condition, as does my man.)

Do I sound like I’m just making excuses not to write yet? Writers can be good at that.

I also lack discipline. It takes a surprising amount of willpower to make yourself sit in front of a screen. As much as our society looks at screens everyday, you’d think that would be easy and it is when you’re playing a game or watching a good movie but it isn’t always great when you’re playing god. And it isn’t always great when you’ve already spent your entire workday staring at a screen, ripping your hair out dealing with HTML code or filling in MS Excel spreadsheets. After eight hours of that, your eyes need a break whether you’ve got “computer glasses” or not.

Forming a routine is not easy for everyone. I’ve heard that once you begin a habit, it will be hard to break. I suppose my current habit is making excuses not to work on my novels, the stories and ideas that I love so much. It’s true. I love those stories and ideas but I’m certainly not treating them like I do. By neglecting them like a bad lover, my creativity and inspiration had gone silent. I admit that I haven’t figured out all of the answers just yet, but I’m committed to finding them which is a huge step in the right direction.

That being said, there is all sorts of advice out there about breaking habits but little about making them.

Things I’m doing to promote routine.

1. Logging progress. There is something to be said about being able to look back and see where you started. Simply setting up a handwritten chart or tracking progress in an electronic spreadsheet can do this. I noticed that during the month of November I was far more determined to succeed at writing. It wasn’t the community and camaraderie of National Novel Writing Month participants (even though they can be great.) Instead it was seeing my goals and progress. I had a clear, defined target which was easily reachable but also enough of a challenge. That’s part of the greatness of the program is that it helps you establish routine. However, you don’t need the program to keep going every day, every month, every year.

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Programs like Scrivener track total project progress and writing session progress. Or you can manually track it through MS Word, MS Excel or any other word processor.

2. Forceful Repetition. Visual and audible queues that remind you to take the action. Set alarms and leave notes for yourself in places that you’ll look.

I keep visual reminders all around my desk. I have a dry-erase board, a calendar, post-its on the wall, organized folders and a filing cabinet to keep everything in order. But hey, what works for me might not work for you and that’s ok. Find out what does and go with it!

3. Having a plan. There is a movie that came out in the 80’s with John Cusack and Demi Moore called One Crazy Summer. One of the characters comes from a military family and often says something along the lines of, “Without a plan there is no attack. Without attack there is no victory.” That being said, you won’t get very far without something to drive towards. I’m not saying you have to outline your novel. I’m saying you need to have goals. Perhaps that goal is 2 hours of writing a day. Perhaps that goal is 2,000 words of writing a day. Or maybe a chapter? Or a scene? Either way it’s important to have goals. It’s difficult to establish routine when every time you sit down you have no idea what you’re supposed to accomplish.

That being said, staying organized can’t hurt. It’s one thing to formulate a plan in your head, it’s another to write it down but that is another post entirely!

I hope this post has helped guide you in some way towards your own path of success. I’ll be sure to let you all know how my organization pans out over the course of my writing career – what worked and what didn’t. Until then…

Happy writing!


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