Coffee Haus

More of a place for dessert and a chat than for working on any writing, I decided to check this place out. It’s a very busy Korean style coffee and dessert shop. Traditional Korean desserts and fantastic teas and drinks make it a worthwhile trip, though probably not the best writing atmosphere unless you like busy places with lots of chatter and background music.

Lighting is bright, and there’s really nowhere to escape the overwhelming amount of people. Perhaps some of the time it’s quieter? Possibly in the evenings, but I went in the early afternoon.

It is a place of many chairs and outlets along the walls. There is potential for inspiration and gaining a new perspective just by being there, so despite the noise, it’s worth checking it out.

Pictures without a ton of people were difficult to get, so this is what I have.20170721_133523

Their hours are nice and late, so if you drop by at night, or are a night writer, you might get lucky with a slower atmosphere and a delicious dessert.


209 W Golf Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60195

at Valley Lake Dr


Mon 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Tue 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Wed 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Thu 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Fri 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Sat 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Sun 11:00 am – 12:00 am

Lake Villa Library

Today, I thought I’d try something a little different. Coffee and tea shops are a nice change of scenery and inspiration when it comes to writing, but what about for those days you just need somewhere quiet to concentrate on your writing?

In my case, it was studying, but the same applies to writing for fun, or for work. For maximum quiet and concentration, I went to the Lake Villa Public Library. For those without a library card, you don’t need one to take up space, only if you’re checking anything out.

This library has a nice system where you can pay a buck for a k-cup, and sit down with a cup of tea or coffee while you work. The best part about libraries is the amount of resources you have access to. Do you need to research poisonous plants but you didn’t bring your computer? The library probably has it. Or you can print out online resources using their computers and printers.

Of course, you can always bring your own computer. There are plenty of tables and stations with a handful of power strips to plug your devices in.

There is little downside unless you aren’t a fan of silence.

The other benefit to this particular location is the little pathway that exists behind the library building. It’s a nice little walk with a bridge, and a marshy area if you need a touch of nature to inspire you.

Parking is easy with a lot of space.

Address: 1001 E Grand Ave, Lindenhurst, IL 60046


Sunday 1–5PM
Monday 9AM–9PM
Tuesday 9AM–9PM
Wednesday 9AM–9PM
Thursday 9AM–9PM
Friday 9AM–6PM
Saturday 9AM–5PM

Phone: (847) 356-7711

I’m gonna add a little writing prompt because I think it could be fun.

Take something you’ve written. A short story, novel, work in progress, etc. and add this little detail to your world. How does it fit?

‘Everyone in a town in your world wears a thread around their neck or wrist or ankle, and on that thread is a tiny scroll with something written on it. These people wear them everywhere. What is the purpose of this scroll?’

The Latte Cafe

Easy to find, easy to park at, The Latte Cafe is a great gem on a corner in the town of Antioch, IL. The inside is roomy with lots of tables and chairs to spread out upon while writing your novel or blog. Hungry? They have that covered. Sandwiches, coffee, baked goods, and a handful of flavors for your choice of latte.

Friendly staff, and a beautiful atmosphere, there is a light sound of traffic, but it’s easy to tune out since the street is some distance away. Music plays lightly in the background, and, at least on this rainy Wednesday, it is quiet.

I choose a latte with a flavor of toasted marshmallow and take in the scene. There are a couple of couches off to one side, and a room off to one side that’s almost cut off from the main lobby.

Collections of photos and paintings are hung in groups on the walls. The lighting is a nice combination of window light, and strings of lights wrapped around the ceiling beams. It’s soft, and chill, and a place perfect for concentration.


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1185 Main St. Antioch, IL 60002

Phone (224) 788-5076


Mon 6:00 am5:00 pm
Tue 6:00 am5:00 pm
Wed 6:00 am5:00 pm
Thu 6:00 am5:00 pm
Fri 6:00 am5:00 pm
Sat 7:00 am4:00 pm
Sun 7:00 am3:00 pm

Something’s Brewing

20171114_140011-74287313.jpgSometimes on a chilly, November day the best places to get away from your regular home office, or dining room table, is a cafe filled with background chatter. Something’s Brewing is a refuge from the normal, everyday workstation of your house, with less music and more talking. I sat down with a peppermint tea and a sandwich because they had food, and it was lunchtime.

The sun was out, but the clouds covered it up and made it feel even warmer inside. It’s busy during the lunch rush. Small, round tables crowd the front area across from the counter. Sweets, coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, they sell it all no matter when you get there.

The walls were covered with framed newspaper articles about the cafe’s history. The hours are good and long enough to visit after a typical work or school day. I’m a late afternoon writer who needs places open later.

During the less busy part of the day, it’s chill and easy to stare out the big windows that let in a good amount of natural light. One of the best ways to get inspired is by people watching, and here, it is easy to do that. It’s a perfect place for handwriting or studying.

I didn’t notice any outlets and would’ve had to hunt for them, but with so many people during the lunch hour, that wasn’t an easy task.

Somethings Brewing

82 Center St, Grayslake, Illinois 60030, United States

(847) 543-8600


M-F   5:30am -8:30pm

Saturday 6am-8:30pm

Sunday 7am – 6pm20171114_135954-1324014179.jpg

Cafe Book

20171005_153819.jpgIt’s hard to capture the excitement of walking into this neat cafe. The first thing you’ll notice is the space. Then the bookshelves filled with books and antiques. Lo and behold, there are several large rooms separated from the main area. They loop around and serve as inspiration as every inch of wall space is covered in buyable antiques.

Speaking of antiques, this place is wonderful if you love the aesthetic of vintage places.

Every table is surrounded by a variety of wooden chairs. Outlets and power strips are at every table, prepped for computer usage. The rooms provide a lot of space and quiet for those in need of isolation in order to concentrate. Best times for writing are likely during the less popular times of day, but their hours are what adds to my love of this place.

And if you go there on an empty stomach, they have food aside from the drinks. Parking is easy and there’s plenty of it in town and behind the shops.


M-W-F   7am-5pm

THUR     7am-8pm

SAT         8am-5pm

SUN        8am-3pm

395 Lake St, Antioch, IL 60002

Phone: (847) 395-2223


A nice place to go for some delicious lemon bars while you work on your novel, Brewpoint has a back room that makes writing and working less of a chore.

Need a good place to get away from the dreariness of your home as you chip away at your novel? I enjoyed the atmosphere and cute aesthetics of Brewpoint. There are some unique twists on drinks, plenty of power strips ready for your computer to plug into.

It’s less crowded later in the day, and a bit more so nearing lunch time so avoiding that middle time is best if you want the better atmosphere.

If you have a hard time concentrating, with music, sit in the back. It’s not distracting. Like most coffee shops, there’s wifi available, and this setup has a variety of games and books if you want to take a break.

Address: 124 W. Park Ave, Elmhurst IL

Hours: Monday thru Friday 6am-9pm, Saturday 7am-8pm, Sunday 7am-6pm

Phone: 224-542-8263

The Storm



Thursday felt like unrelenting dread. A powerful storm the day before, that had lasted from midnight to late afternoon, flooded the streets. Buildings, basements, filled with water. Power outages, and road blocks formed major complications.

Thursday, after the storm, it was calm. Too much so. As often called the calm before the storm, I sat in silence, waiting.


My heart skipped a beat as the lights flickered and dimmed into dark. Icy water ran over my feet, and I jumped up from its icy grasp. Emergency lights popped on all over the site, and the backup generator kicked into gear. Until the flooding, when it suddenly went dark yet again.

Nothing could quell the underlying panic seizing my throat, and the hearts of those around me. Stretchers carried people down narrow flights of stairs, and into the stream of ambulances waiting outside to carry them to other hospital sites.




From blog to book: 5 things I learnt along the way

a gentleman and a scholar

On December 18th, 2015, I posted a blog entry: the option for my first book, Trans Like Me, had been picked up by Virago, for UK and Commonwealth publication. It’s a year and a half later – and I’ve been in bookstores for nearly a month, with American publication scheduled for next year with Seal Press.

Trans Like Me Side view

When I first began this blog, back in 2010, I never imagined that what I wrote and explored here would form the foundation of a book. I did want to write a book about gender – about being transgender in particular – but always figured it would be an academic text with a long and referential name. I’d seen people blogging with the express intention of getting a book deal, and wasn’t impressed – the results too often veered between transparent and inauthentic, and flat-out desperate.

But plans pan out in odd ways…

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