Tuesday 31 August 2010

Are you all 'closet' writers?

You may think this post is going to be about us writers not really thinking that we can be called writers until we're published, but it's not (despite it being very true). This is about hiding in a different closet. The contest closet.

Hello! Guys! Are you in there? I know you're hiding in there somewhere. I know there are more writers out there than I'm seeing who would love to enter my CONTEST. So what's going on, guys? Is it the money that you have to donate? Is five dollars really too much to part with for such a good cause? And what about the prizes? Wouldn't you LOVE to get this kind of publicity for yourself? And 100 dollars worth of books? And a free copy edit of your ms? Really? No one wants them?
Seriously? I'm so sad ... only ELEVEN people have entered my contest. Am I doing something wrong? Guys, please, tell me, what am I doing wrong? I'm not doing this for me. It's not for me AT ALL. I'm giving up so much of my time and money to support THE WRITING SHOW. Please help me out guys.

Pretty please ...

Monday 30 August 2010

Am I talking out of my arse?

I say 'poetry'.
You say, 'I never understand it.'
I say, 'Look at it like putting together a puzzle.'
You say, 'How?'
I say, 'Think symbolism'.
You say, 'What do you mean?'
I say, 'When you read 'flower'. Don't always expect it to mean 'flower'. Expect it to mean what the flower might represent or symbolize according to the other words surrounding it - according to the emotions the poet is trying to portray.'
You say, 'I don't get it.'
I say, 'You never understand them.'
You say, 'Have you seen Ben?.'
I say, 'Ah, very poetic'.
You look at me blankly.
I smile.
You say, 'So is that really a smile or does it symbolize something else?'
I say, 'Now you're talking out of your arse.'
You say, 'I am not.'
I say, 'Think symbolism. Your arse symbolises the crap you're uttering.'
You say, 'Ah! Now I get it!'
I say, 'Get what exactly?'
You say, 'Well, if I want to write a poem, all I have to do is talk ot of my arse!'

Sunday 29 August 2010

Are you a writer? Then you MUST enter THE WRITING SHOW CONTEST! (Repost)

Would you like to win unbelievable prizes AND support fellow writers like yourself? Then keep reading ... 
This contest isn’t your average contest, folks, and you don't have to write anything to enter. This contest is an attempt to save The Writing Show, an amazing writing resource for us, and if The Writing Show goes bust, I think I’ll just go hide in the corner of my bedroom and cry for a decade. It would be such a shame to lose this amazing resource.

Writers support writers, right? Well the founder and owner of The Writing Show, is not only the provider of this writing resource we simply cannot do without, she is also a fellow writer, so I hope you’ll all find it in your hearts to support her—the amazingly generous and talented Paula B.

The show costs $10,000 – $15,000 to run per year, and so far this year there have only been $500 in donations. So PLEASE, not only for Paula B, but for you and all of us writers out there, struggling to get someone to take notice, please help out.
Read on to find out how …

Now. before I get into specifics such as rules and prizes (and the prizes are to DIE for), read a little about The Writing Show and Paula B, the producer and host of the show, and brilliant writing mentor:

“Since 2005, The Writing Show has provided engaging information and inspiration for writers of all kinds. We deliver high-quality, in-depth interviews, reality shows, and other features designed to shed light on some aspect of writing, publishing, and other topics of interest to people who write or aspire to do so.”

“Paula Berinstein (Paula B) is the author of seven geeky nonfiction books, including Making Space Happen and Business Statistics on the Web, and numerous magazine articles. Paula has been "Publishing Trends" columnist for Searcher magazine, ran her own research business serving the entertainment and other industries for 15 years, and has been a computer programmer, systems analyst, and librarian.

She has a B.A. in English and an M.L.S. in library science with a specialty in information science, both from UCLA.

Paula considers herself first and foremost a journalist. Her heroes are Jim Lehrer and Margaret Warner of the PBS NewsHour, whom she admires for their low-key manners and thoughtful questions.”

Right, let’s get to business …


You must be a follower of this blog.

 You must plug this contest at least once, on either your own blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter and post the link in your comment, or email me at jessica.carmen.bell@gmail.com to let me know. If this isn’t done, you will be disqualified.

You must make a donation of $5 or more to The Writing Show at this link. Now before you screw up your nose at having to part with money, take a look below at what $5 could get you.

You must comment on this blog post and let me know how much you're donating so I know how many entries to give you.


By simply entering this contest you will get your pick of one of Paula B’s self-mentoring e-books. To see the list, go here. If you don’t have an e-reader we will email you a PDF version. As soon as you donate, Paula will email you to ask which one you'd like.


This is working like a raffle, so pretend that each dollar you donate is one ticket, and therefore one entry. So your initial $5 will get you five entries.

But …

If you donate $50 or more, you automatically get 100 entries.

If you donate $100 or more, you automatically get 200 entries.

If you donate $150 or more, you automatically get 200 entries plus a bonus and IMMEDIATE prize of a first chapter critique and follow-up email discussion by Paula B. I repeat BONUS. This is on top of the prizes below. You will receive this without even winning, simply by donating this amount of money.

Of course, if you wish to donate more than $150 dollars, it will revert back to the one entry per dollar system. So if you donate $151, you will get 201 entries plus the critique.



1. Paula B will interview you for a podcast and it will be published on The Writing Show and remain in its archives for as long as The Writing Show is up and running. (This can be by phone if you can’t make it into the studio.)

2. The Writing Show will plug your blog or website on its home page.

3. The Writing Show will publish a short piece of your writing on the website, and it will remain in its archives as the winner of this contest, with a short biography and any links or other information you wish to include accompanying it for as long as the show exists. I will copy edit it before it is uploaded. If you don’t know me, I am a professional English Language Teaching editor and writer, so you can trust me.

4. A $100 dollar Amazon gift card, donated by MOI.

5. I am also donating my time to this cause. I will proofread and copyedit your full manuscript whenever it’s ready. If you were to hire me to do this it would cost you at least $1500 for a 100,000 word manuscript. So I’m offering a big chunk of my time for free here!

If it’s ready now, excellent, if it’s ready in a month, no problem, if it’s ready in December, again, no problem. The cut off time for this will be mid December. I will not accept any manuscripts after December 15. If you’d like to see my CV, let me know and I’ll send it to you. You have to give me at least two months to complete it, though, as I sometimes have to work 60 hours per week!


1. Paula B will interview you for a podcast and it will be published on The Writing Show and remain in its archives for as long as The Writing Show is up and running. (This can be by phone if you can’t make it into the studio.)

2. The Writing Show will plug your blog or website on its home page.

3. The Writing Show will publish a biography about you on the website (with a small excerpt of your writing if you wish), along with a direct link to purchase your latest release on their home page..

4. A $100 dollar Amazon gift card, donated by MOI.

5. I am also donating my time to this cause. I will purchase and read your latest release. I will review and plug it on my blog, again with a direct link in my side bar for others to purchase it. Once this is done, it will also be linked to your biography on The Writing Show. If you’re self-published, and would prefer the proofread and copyedit I’m offering aspiring authors (see point 5 above), then let me know so I can do that for you instead.

A $15 Barnes and Noble gift card.
An illustration, drawn by the wonderfully talented Elizabeth! All you have to do is provide her with a summary of your WIP and she'll illustrate a mock cover of it for you! How awesome is that?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me: jessica.carmen.bell@gmail.com. If you have a question for Paula B, run it by me first and I’ll have her email you back directly if need be.

So, folks, whaddayawaidingfor? Follow, Plug, Donate, Win!
Cut off date for entering is Monday, Septmeber 13.

My testimonial for Paula's mentoring:
Paula B's feedback has not only been more than helpful, but it has increased my need to make my work better than better. Her tactics are not the usual. She does not 'tell' you what she thinks you should do. She does not 'tell' you how to make your story shine. She pokes and prods and asks you questions until you come up with ideas on your own. She pushes you in the right direction, twists your mind to think in ways it isn't used to. She certainly knows which buttons to press. And she knows these buttons because she takes enormous care and time to know your writing better than the back of her own hand before uttering a single word about it.
At the end of the day, not only have you come out with an outstanding critique and the encouragement and extraordinary motivation to keep pushing yourself to achieve the best, you come out with new and insightful knowledge; knowledge that one generally can't come by unless one enrolls in a creative writing course. Paula is definitely high on my recommendations list. In fact, now that I come to think of it, I don't think there has been a single person who I have been more pleased with or trusted with my beloved prose.

Friday 27 August 2010

Calling for poetry experts!


Goats, Roosters and Scooters

The windy mountainous roads on the island where my father’s family roots lie are framed with olive groves and air so crisp you can snap it up like celery. The houses are stained with whitewash and embedded with old-style stiff wooden shutters, tailored by the inbred locals to keep the summer swelter out. They are all painted blue, red or green, but occasionally you may come across the odd pink or orange shutters, which are more often than not, inhabited by the eccentric barmy type who are colour blind, or the young and loaded foreigner who believes that they should revolutionize the island.

Goats meander about the streets, head butting each other senselessly, as they try to escape oncoming cars and scooters. The roosters, the chickens and the geese fire up the locals at the first sign of sunrise. In the morning you can hear birds chirping, cicadas jijiging in the olive trees and dogs barking as the bread truck (a little old red beat up Ute) delivers hot bread to each residency.

At midday, the sun gets so hot that you have to wade through the heat rising off the road before you manage to wade through the Mediteranean waves to cool off. The ocean sparkles a deep turquoise and is as flat and as still as oil. It’s very hard to resist going for a swim at least twice a day during the summer as the heat engraves your skin. If you are on holiday you might as well just spend sunrise to sunset lying on a small empty white pebbled beach – one that is situated in a tiny cove at the end of a private dirt walking track – one that not a single postcard illustrates and not a single local will tell you about.

Do you wish you were here? If so, then you'll have to come to Greece ;o)

Don’t forget about my CONTEST!

PS: Holly, (my dog) was missing in the shots yesterday because I had just washed her and she was on the balcony drying off :o)

Thursday 26 August 2010

My office - before and after

Right. I promised before and after pics. So here they are! I'm so tired and behind on my work after organising my space, but ... I don't give a damn! Whahahahhahaha! (attempt at wicthes laugh there).



Ahhh ... Now, I'm to shower off all that sweat because I actually had to assemble everything!

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Work schedule = 60 hrs per week (So I bought myself a present)

I'm working like a dog. I am also running out of space on my cluttered desk as I need to use two computers to be able to see and type into multiple documents at once, and I also need to lay out in front of me two sets of A3 layout proofs. I'm cramped. And getting snarky. And yelling at someone who invisibly lurks in my office. Don't ask me who they are. But they volunteered to be my oral punching bag. So. Anyway. I thought I deserved a little prize for being such a hardworking non-complaining sport (except on my blog and to my invisible friend).  I bought myself some stuff to make my working experience that little bit more comfortable.
Check it out!

Cool new soft chair, a desk extension and a set of drawers. They arrive tomorrow, so I'll take a before and after pic of my office for you to see the transformation!

Don't forget about my CONTEST!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Drowning in personal expectation

I can't keep up with my own expectations. Am I drowning?
Going, going, almost gone. Water bubbling round me as I try to come up for air. Sucking it through the tiny little opening on the surface of the stream - through a very thin black straw.
The air is not quite enough, but it's keeping me alive. Just. Just enough to get what I need, but not what I want. No room to spread my wings in this confined little pool of murky water.
But I can wash my wings, at least. I'm respectably clean and presentable - able to appear in control. But no one can really see how much water I have swallowed.
How long will it be before my lungs are full? How long before the thin straw will no longer suffice?

Please don't forget about my contest!

Monday 23 August 2010

You want the BAD or the GOOD news first?

Air ya gun? Who can guess what that means? Say it out loud ... think thick Australian accent ... figured it out yet?

Air ya gun? = How are you going?

Ok. Now that I got that out in the open, what would you like to hear first? The BAD or the GOOD news? Well, I could start with the good, to brighten up your Monday, but then the bad might leave you in a bad mood. So let's start with the bad, and end with the good shall we?

The BAD news is:
I stubbed my toe when I got out of bed.
Due to stubbing my toe I dropped my mobile phone.
Due to dropping my mobile phone I woke up my beloved and he got snarky.
I dropped the soap in the shower this morning.
On my way back up from picking up the soap I banged my head on the wall because I lost balance (sorry folks, I am NOT a morning person, but I'm trying to juggle so many things at the moment that getting up early creates more time for me to be clumsy and waste it)
The ice flew across the kitchen as I was trying to put it in my iced coffee this morning.
The wind was so strong on the balcony that it toppled a chair over on my way out and whacked my leg. It hurts. Mummy, I need a bandaid. Preferably with fairies on it.
Guess what happened to my coffee when the chair banged my leg? Yep. You guessed it. I dropped it. Thank goodness I was using a plastic cup. See, this is when the day started to shine a little more brightly. Then ...

Came the GOOD news:
I got talking to the wonderful Elizabeth Mueller on gmail.
She is kindly donating a RUNNER-UP PRIZE FOR THE WRITING SHOW CONTEST!!!!! (I have updated the contest post with this info too) How COOOOOOL is that?????

A $15 Barnes and Noble gift card.
An illustration, drawn by the wonderfully talented Elizabeth! All you have to do is provide her with a summary of your WIP and she'll illustrate a mock cover of it for you! How awesome is that?

Happy Monday everyone! Mine is beginning to look up! :o)

Friday 20 August 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest - Day Two

Howdy! Firstly, sorry if I didn't make it to your blog yesterday. Have been terribly busy with work and my eyes were ready to pop out of my head by the end of the day! Please give me the weekend to navigate your reveals as well!

Ok, here is a description of Ivy:

29 years old. Wispy ash-blonde just below the shoulder-length hair, with an uneven fringe that is always falling in her face. Tall, slim, but curvy, average sized bust, but quite perky and model-like - probably her best asset, although she hides a lot of her great bodily features (read below to see why). Small blue-grey eyes. Sharp, yet gentle, impish facial features, not quite symmetrical, her ears stick out a little too much. White skin. She protects herself obsessively from the sun. Doesn't like to wear make-up, but does wear lip gloss. She looks quite young, but has a few wrinkles below her eyes, in between her eyebrows, and around her mouth from a lot of crying, frowning, and squinting at archaeological artifacts.

Doesn't give much of a damn recently as to how she looks, so is quite scruffily dressed - wears the same old jeans (ripped under the bum) and orange mohair sweater too many days in a row. Half-tucked in white shirt underneath, collar stained with sweat, strands of hair falling from her pony tail. Addicted to black baby-doll shoes that she can just slip on and off without a fuss and match with anything and everything. Loves her long vintage maroon coat. Wears it everyday on her way to work at Ditsy Daisy's Cafe to protect herself from the icy cold streets of Seattle.

She's very well-built. She is an archaeologist, loves field work, and is therefore very fit. Couldn't break her wrists if you tried. Recently went through divorce, became depressed, ran away from Melbourne, Australia to Seattle and got herself a waitressing job to pay the bills. Wanted to escape responsibility and career for a while, sort her mind out, live like a the teen she never was. She's influenced by her mother who is an obsessed pediatric surgeon and because of her she has an (unwanted) mental dictionary of medical jargon and body parts that she subconsciously relates to everyday life. She resents her mother for naming her after Inra Venous (I.V. get it?). Has loved the drums since she was a child, but never took it seriously. Was just having a play around to take her mind off things and use as an aid to beat something up other than her ex-husband.

Ok, imagine a mix between Robin Wright Penn and Cate Blanchet, with no make-up, more of a fringe and with more ashy-coloured hair ... and you (kinda) got my gal.

So ... drum roll ... the winner is ... well actually there were two that were pretty close! So I'm gonna be even more generous, (gosh what has got into me?) and award them both!
Hmm, given she's a drummer, her arms well-honed, strong wrists, medium build, 5' 5" shoulder-length blonde hair (scraped into pony/pig tail), pear-shaped face, rosy glow, purt lips from too much indepth concentration, hazel eyes.
I'm seeing someone most at home in cut off's or khaki shorts. Simple, plain t-shirts. Minimal make-up. Dark blonde hair streaked lighter by hours in the sun. Usually pulled back into a pony tail. Probably a ball cap or other hat. Clear blue eyes that will pop if she were to play them up with make up. She's smart, and comfortable in her own skin.
So Francine and Vicki, email me so that I can organise Paula to email you about your e-books!
See you all next week!!!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Guess that character blogfest - Day One

Ok, the day has come for the Guess That Character Blogfest! Whoo-hoo! Please make your way over to see the other participants' entries and guess what their characters look like too. Just go to the link in my side bar to find our wonderful host, Jen @ Unedited, and the other participants' links.
So, the deal is, you have to read this excerpt and guess what the character looks like, and tomorrow I will reveal what she does look like.
But there's a little twist on this for you today. Of course! I have to plug ths contest of mine till it wears me out! It's had about 150 page views, folks, but only two people have entered:
Roland and Leigh. Thanks for your donations guys!

So, what's going on people? Seriously, how could you pass up these prizes?

Anyway, back to the task at hand here. Whoever has the closest guess, receives a little prize ...

Here's the excerpt:
On Ivy's way to band rehearsal she stops in front of Crossroads Trading Co. and spots a full-length, long-sleeved, low-cut, slinky black dress in the window. She envisions herself wearing it at a congratulatory event for a unique archaeological find; making a speech, thanking her students for their assistance on the site … Without my wonderful students I would never have had the opportunity to find this part of the skull of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, in east China's Jiangsu Province … 

Ivy grabs her drumsticks out of her bag and stares at them as though they are about to lash out at her for not treating them with respect. They’re tattered and splintery; in need of a good layer of StickShield. Bugger it. She throws them in the trashcan nearby instead. I need to get myself together. Letting my anger out on a stranger’s drum kit isn’t helping.

So, whatcha reckon Ivy looks like? Please comment and let me know! For the person whose guess is the closest, I will give you five free entries into THE WRITING SHOW CONTEST, with no strings attached, and donate $5 dollars on your behalf. If you aren't a writer, you can have the choice of either me donating on your behalf for a very good cause (see contest link), or passing over the prize to a friend of yours who is a writer. Of course, you will also receive the free e-book that comes with entering. Good luck!

Monday 16 August 2010

Highway to Home (my version of ACDC's Highway to Hell)

Living hard, on my knees
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, please let me free
Can't take no more in my stride
I need reason, I need rhyme
So many things I would rather do
Going down, no more party time
My friends are gonna be there too
I'm on the highway to home
Large stop signs, speed limits
Everybody's gonna slow me down
Like a training wheel, hard to spin it
Everybody's gonna mess me round
Hey Satan, didn't I payed my dues?
Playing in a rocking band?
Hey Momma, look at me
I'm on my way to workaholic land
I'm on the highway to home
(Please stop me)
And I'm going down, all the way down
I'm on the highway to home

As soon as I've caught routinitus again, I'll be right back with ya - all plugged in and ready to roar. Infected injection is scheduled for this Wednesday morning. You DON'T want to MISS Wednesday's post as I'm announcing a CONTEST. Not you're typical contest, this one. This one offers amazing opportunities for aspiring, published, and self-published authors. See you all then!

Friday 13 August 2010

Sorry, but I am NOT perfect.

It seems that being an English Language Teaching professional means that I should know EVERYTHING there is to know about the English language, and that I should NEVER make errors. People don't give me the right to make spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. If I do, apparently I'm not good at my job.
If my mind plays tricks on me one early morning; one early morning when I'm exhausted and can't function properly without squinting my eyes to see the screen clearly, and I type their, instead of they're in an email, I suddently get sarcastic replies such as 'What kind of editor are you?'
Some people even feel the need to spot errors of mine out in meaningless correspondence, such as, "Oh, by the way, there's a grammar error in the first line." Hello? It's an email, it's not a grammar book! Do I need to concentrate on making my texts perfect 24 hours a freakin day, when I spend at least ten of them making sure the IMPORTANT stuff is perfect? You know, like the stuff I get PAID for? Seriously, people, give me a BREAK!
And yes, I do have to look up words in the dictionary sometimes. Sometimes even just to make sure what I think is the correct definition actually is and I'm not recalling the definition I made up as a child. Or sometimes I need to jog my memory, sometimes I want to be certain that I've used the correct part of speech, or that I haven't missed any derivatives, or that I haven't got the idiom mixed up with another one.
I'm NOT a walking dictionary, and I definitely do NOT carry around all the information I write and edit in my head 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I bring certain things to the forefront of my mind when they are NEEDED, othewise I'd go nuts. Nuts! And you know, sometimes I like to FORGET there are rules and spell something wrong for the sake of it. Just to stick my tongue out at these 'people' and say "Na na na na na, Im not ashaimed two maik speling misticks wen Im not werking." OKAY?

Thanks. *And here is where I bow* :o)

Wednesday 11 August 2010

You Want Me To Order Beetroot Compost? What?

My experience of Greek Menus ...

Beetroot Compost
(How long has it been rotting? "Beetroot Compote")

God Soup
(Do I get to eat it in Heaven? "Cod soup")

Lamp in Lemon Sauce
(That'll be light. "Lamb in Lemon Sauce")

Rubbit with Onions
(Rub what? "Rabbit with Onions")

Smoked Summons
(I'd like to summon someone fresh, thanks. "Smoked Salmon")

Roast Cot
(I hope there was no baby in there when you put it in the oven! "Roast Rooster" 'chicken' in Greek is 'cota', there's the logic in that one)

Have you ever come across some funny typos while visiting another country? Please share!

Monday 9 August 2010

Interesting Facts About Ithaca ... (+ photos)

The island of Ithaca is located west of the mainland of Greece in the Ionian Sea and is the second smallest inhabited island of the "Heptanese". Ithaca consists of two peninsulas with almost equal extent. They are joined by the isthmus of Aetos which is 620 m wide. The island has a maximum length of 29 km and width of 6.5 km.

Hamilton House in Kioni was built in 1892 by Elizabeth Hamilton, niece of Lord Nelson's mistress, shortly after Ithaca was part of the British Empire. Locals today still call it 'Lizzys' .

Many famous people have come to the island over the years, Sophia Loren, The British Royal Family, Madonna, Nicholas Cage, Tom Hanks, Sade, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) (He has a house somewhere on the island, but it's a secret) and many more.

The first numerical information on the Ithacan population is from the Venetian period.

1568 = 60 Families

During the English period an official census took place which showed an increase in the population. This Attributed to the rise of trade and marine businesses on Ithaca.

1818 = 8077 People
1862 = 14,451 People

After the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece the population decreased since some moved to the mainland or emigrated to Romania.

1889 = 8,821 People

Ithaca's population abruptly declined after World War II, emigration steadily continued and people moved to the larger cities of Greece. An unfortunate reason for this was the earthquake of 1953 which devastated the entire island

1951 = 7,527 People
1971 = 4,156 People

Around 1980 to 1985 the population of Ithaca had stabilized at approximately 3,000. During the 1990's it decreased again to around 2,500.

Now in the 21st century there are a number of new inhabitants, those with Ithacan heritage returning for a better, more natural form of life and those from abroad. The population now stands at around 3100, but the head count varies day to day due to the older generation dying and increasing births. 
According to statistics gathered by Mr. G. Vallianos, there are over 13,000 Ithacans or people of Ithacan descent in the world.


(These statistics were gathered in 2001.)

Over the past 15 years Ithaca has catered more and more for tourism, but it is still comparatively unspoiled. Strict building regulations prohibit constructions that are not in harmony with existing buildings on the island, so luckily thus far, Ithaca has no large hotel complexes or unsightly architecture.
The loss of the Drachma and the appearance of the Euro in 2000 has changed the dynamics of Ithacan life. Prices have risen and wages remain mostly unchanged

Another major impact on Ithaca's dynamics is the aging population. Even with the islands' baby boom of 2003 / 2004, there are more aged dying than can statistically be replaced. The church bells toll slowly at least once a month with the announcement of another local death ...

Friday 6 August 2010

I've been tagged so I'm honoring it :o)

I've been tagged by DH Hammons to do this handwriting thingy. If there are any handwriting experts out there that would like to tell me the meaning of mine, I'd be ever so grateful! So here it is with no further ado ...

This is what I had to do. On a plain piece of paper jot down the following:

1. Name/Blog Name.
2. Right handed, left handed or both?
3. Favorite letters to write?
4. Least favorite letters to write?
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:
7. Favorite song lyrics?
8. Tag 7 people.
9. Any special note or drawing?
And here you are:

To see who's been tagged just click on the picture and it will enlarge. My handwriting is a mess. It used to be so much neater before I spent all my time on the computer!
Has your handwriting changed since primarily using a word processor?

Wednesday 4 August 2010

The Airport Novel: worthy of praise?

To quote Wikipedia, an airport novel is basically defined like this:
"Whatever the genre, the books must be fast paced and easy to read. The description "airport novel" is mildly pejorative; it implies that the book has little lasting value, and is useful chiefly as an inexpensive form of entertainment during travel. Airport novels are sometimes contrasted with literary fiction; so that a novel with literary aspirations would be disparaged by the label."

What? Are you kidding me?
When people refer to a book as being an airport novel, my first reaction is, "Eww - trashy" and I *cringe*. But you know what? That is NOT a fair reaction!
These so called 'airport novels' would be damn hard to write! In my opinion, the airport novel does not deserve the ridicule that some people, especially other writers, give. It's not trash, it's treasure. And you know why?
The airport novel is the written form of a pop song. And it's not easy to write a pop song, believe me, I know first hand. It takes TALENT to write a song that is loved by the mass market. And it too would take TALENT to write a faced-paced novel that someone would enjoy reading while waiting for their plane to board. Something that's not too heavy, but entertaining enough to keep you hooked and consistently turning the pages. Don't you think?
So, if someone pulls a face, cringes, or puts someone's work down by calling it an airport novel, give'em a little slap, and say: "Let me see you try to write one!"

So, how do you feel about "airport novels'?

Monday 2 August 2010

What will happen to my writing if I keep living here?

As you know, I live in Greece. Everyday, I walk out of my little isolated world of reading and writing, and into the obnoxious and chaotic world of Athens, Greece. I hear Greeks curse, chat about nail varnish and make-up, politics (which to me, in Greek, is incomprehensible), boyfriends cheating, husbands lying, children screaming in public, expensive supermarket prices ... general universal conversation really. Isn't it?
But you know what the difference is with these conversations? They're in Greek. Not only is the language completely different to English, but so is intonation, facial expression, and hand gesture. Emphasis on particular words in a sentence is also completely different. Their way of answering the phone, to us seems ubrupt and rude sometimes, or even doesn't make sense. Would any English speaker answer the phone and say, 'Yes?' or 'Please?' No. I didn't think so.

If I keep living in this country, is my idea of a realistic English conversation going to flush the opposite way down the toilet bowl? What's going to happen when my mind is filled with Greek mannerisms rather than English ones? What's going to happen to my writing?
Yes, I do watch English films, read English books, and speak English on a daily basis, but in my world, in my surrounding environment, 'life' is not in English. How am I supposed to successfully eavesdrop?
Am I going to lose touch? Am I going to be able to evolve with the English language? Or am I going to be one of those people who doesn't realise that when someone says 'She's bad', in a particular context, they actually mean she's a strong independent woman instead of misbehaved?
It's scary. Really scary. Is my future as a writer doomed?