Thursday 31 March 2011

"...don't forget that behind an easy laugh is a real person."

A recent review of a self-published author initiated a response from the author that was sad, and embarrassing. I read the author's multiple comments and aggressive retaliation toward the reviewer and felt physically ill. I was almost in tears because this author's reaction, more than likely, tarnished her career forever. I'm not going to link to this review. I think it has made enough rounds around the Internet. Comments have also been disabled on the post. But what is lingering in my mind, now, is not the author's profanity and unprofessionalism, it is the very last comment on the thread, by a commenter named Selene Coulter.

She said,
"For everyone revelling in this -- a quick story. I had something similar happen with a colleague who ranted and swore at me. Face to face. When I took him aside in private he broke down and admitted his father had just died the night before. Me pointing an error out to him had been the final straw.
Please don't forget that behind an easy laugh is a real person. And you've no idea who she is or what might have prompted her behaviour.
It doesn't excuse her. But it doesn't excuse you either."

And THAT dear readers, is what we should remember from this horrible and unfortunate situation. The author is a person, who we don't know, and therefore should NOT judge. She made a mistake, and I think we should leave it at that.

You might also be interested in reading this incredible psychologist's, Sarah Fine, take on the matter. The post is brilliant. I urge you to check it out.

PS: I'll announce contest results tomorrow with my first A-Z post.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Music To Make Write To, with Chris Phillips

I'm over at Chris Phillips' blog today sharing three songs which get me in the mood for writing! Would love to see you there! :o)

PS: Taking tomorrow off from blogging. See you Thursday!

Monday 28 March 2011

Link my trailer, win a book!

I would really like to get the trailer for String Bridge circulating around the Internet. Do you think you could help me out? In return, you will be in the running to win second hand books from moi, and ... something else, which I'll get to in a minute.

It's easy. All you have to do is link to my BOOK TRAILER somewhere on the web. In return, I am giving away FIVE books (from a choice of fifteen) -- so that's FIVE WINNERS (open internationally) for my books. But there could be more winners -- that depends on if you want to donate any second hand books. If you donate a second hand book as a prize you will be in the running to win a free, signed copy of String Bridge. Either an ARC in August, or, if you want to wait, the proper release in November. Your choice. I am giving away FIVE.

I'm going to keep this simple and avoid a point system. So commenting here with the link to where you plugged my trailer means you've entered to win a book. And just to clarify, if you link to trailer on either a blog post (and say a little about it) or on facebook (a unique link, not a share link) and donate a book, you will be entered into this giveaway and into the running to win a signed copy of String Bridge when it's out.

I hope I haven't confused you!!!

Anyhoo, this will only last until Thursday because the A-Z April Challenge starts on Friday. I will announce all winners on Thursday, and add any donations to the bottom of this post as they come in. (donator will be responsible for posting the prize to the winner).

So, the five winners of my books can choose one from the following:

Books by Marian Keyes:
Sushi For Beginners
Last Chance Saloon
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Books by Jodi Picoult:
Handle With Care
Songs of the Humpback Whale
Perfect Match

Mourning Ruby, by Helen Dunmore
Brick Lane, by Monica Ali
A friend Of The Family, by Lisa Jewell
The Wonder Spot, by Melissa Bank
The Memoirs of Cleopatra, by Margaret George
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
Saturday, by Ian McEwan
A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby

Donated Books so far (number of donated books equals number of additional winners):
1. Signed copy of Cinders + signed bookmarks, by Michelle Davidson Argyle (donated by Michelle Davidson Argyle)
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. (donated by Amie McCracken)
3. Notes From The Underground, anthology (donated by Judy Croome)
4. All-Amerian Girl, by Meg Cabot (donated by Sharon K. Mayhew)
5. Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street, by Naguib Mahfouz (donated by Deniz Bevan)

Easy peasy: Link, Comment, Win!  Good luck!!!

Thursday 24 March 2011


Mum and Me (2005-ish)
Short and sweet post today for the end of my blogging week. I just want to say THANK YOU to all my wonderful followers who commented and reposted my book trailer on facebook yesterday. You have NO IDEA how much I appreciate it. I went to bed all weepy last night. After having had a pretty low day (been a bit unreasonably depressed lately) my heavy head and chest suddenly filled with sweet air and butterflies. I'm so thrilled my trailer touched so many of you. And for those who are still wondering, yes, it's me singing in the trailer. Even though I do write songs myself, the original song for this trailer was written by my mother. I adored it and asked if I could remix it, and she said yes. So I changed the lyrics to fit the book and re-recorded it. So thanks so much MUM!

If you still haven't had a chance to see the trailer, just check out yesterday's post! Have a great weekend everyone. And THANK YOU again!!!

PS: Here's the LINK to my mother's original song if you're interested!


Wednesday 23 March 2011

String Bridge Book Trailer is LIVE! (today's original blog post is below ...)

So, what do you think, guys???? Squeee!!!!

To see a Therapist, or not to see a Therapist?

So. I'm thinking of seeing a therapist (if I can find one that speaks English here). I've never seen one in my life. I've always thought they were bollocks. I've always thought that the way they commonly link one's childhood to their adult behavior was, ... well, for lack of a better term, bull. Doesn't it all come down to an individual's 'choices'? Someone's a serial killer -- oh, but they were abused as a child. Oh really? I know plenty of people who were abused, but they are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

Anyway, my point is, we shouldn't blame our childhood on things we do as adults, because we have a choice. But ..., I've been reading Karen Walker's memoir. And now, I'm thinking things like, "oh, maybe I become cold and distant and seem like a selfish, heartless bitch when someone yells at me because I was ALWAYS yelled at as a child and it's become a habit if self-preservation ?" Then I shake my head and say, "sheesh, don't be ridiculous."
But then I sit down at my computer this morning and have no idea what to write because I can't stop thinking about these, "therapy things." So here I am writing about it. And I want to see a therapist because I want to know what their take is on my horrible cold behaviour. I want to know why I hide myself away and pretend I don't care when something bothers me so much that I want to yell and scream and cry and break things all around the house. (PS: don't worry, nothing bad has happened, I'm just referring to how I am when bad things do happen.)

So, what do you think? Therapy? Worth it?

PS: After receiving a comment on facebook saying that they are offended by this post, I'd just like to say that I KNOW this post heavily generalizes what therapists are all about, and I do respect the profession. Please do not take offense. I am not an expert on clinical psychology and am merely expressing how I'm feeling today. Thanks.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

And a cover is born ...

The cover of String Bridge is finally here! I'm so excited. And I'm so in love with it. And guess who illustrated it? Janice! The publisher of Lucky Press! Thanks a million, Janice, you've done a remarkable job. I know many of you commented on the photo on Facebook, but when I received it last night it was almost midnight and really needed to go to bed ... anyway ... tada!

Monday 21 March 2011

You say what? You're leaving Athens?

So, this weekend we put our apartment on the market. Oh man, I'm shitting bricks. Excuse my language, but how else do you describe fear that physically hurts in forbidden territories?

Where are we moving to? We don't know. We'll decide that if or when someone wants to buy an apartment in a country that is rumoured to soon be announcing bankruptcy, and a country who has sent Greek soldiers to bomb Libya, which is another thing I'm shitting bricks about. Does that mean we are now a target? Will Libya BOMB GREECE in retaliation??? I know we live in a no aircraft zone, so technically we're safe. But seriously, that means nothing nowadays, does it? Rules? Rules are broken all the time.

Anyway, back to my point. We're selling the place furnished so that we have as little as possible to move about. We'll either move to Australia, the Greek countryside, or rent a furnished apartment in Athens until we decide what we want to do. Either way, I'm still physically hurting in forbidden territories. Sure, the place mightn't sell for YEARS. But what if it does? What if next week some rich schmuck phones us up and says he wants to buy? EEEEEEK! I put such love into fixing up this home ... I'm so sad. But. I'm also a little excited about the fact that if we do sell, we will be free. And freedom is GREAT. Isn't it?

Have you ever had to leave your home due to factors out of your control? How did it make you feel?

Anyhoo, here are some pics of my lovely handy work ... the walls ...

Friday 18 March 2011


I know I'm not supposed to be posting today but I really want to support this effort to publish an anthology for Japan. Please help too, if you can. Thanks guys!!!

An OPEN CALL for submission to WE ARE ALL JAPAN

We at WE ARE ALL JAPAN are assembling an anthology of all types of poetry and haibun - We Are All Japan. The purpose of the anthology is to display to Japan our feelings of love and concern for the hell they have and are currently enduring.

All proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the the Salvation Army or the Red Cross in Japan.


Please submit any kind of poetry as well as haibun (stating your name, city and country) to

We also need a photo or artwork for the cover. Please send your original work to the same email.

Deadline: May 15, 2011.

Robert D. Wilson and Sasa Vazic


All proceeds above the cost of publishing will be donated to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross to help radiation, earthquake, and tsunami victims.

We would also like to send a copy to libraries in Japanese cities and towns that were hit the hardest

Thursday 17 March 2011

Super 8 Dubut Albums blogfest that I missed ...

I forgot about this blogest when it happened, hosted by DiscConnected, so I've decided to do it now :o)

Super 8 debut albums of my choice (today) are the following (added Wikipedia links to labels if you don't know them, and vids of my fave tracks too):

Sheer: Infliction

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: From Her to Eternity

Dirty Three: Sad and Dangerous

Magic Dirt: Friends in Danger

(yeah, I'm cheating here, this is actually her second album, but the one that made everyone take notice!)

Hard Candy: Tattoo
(my parents' band)

Click here and then click on covers and the songs will come up in Media Player.

Nightmares on Wax: A word of science: The first and final chapter

Wednesday 16 March 2011


(I'm begging you please read this whole post. It might be a little bit long, but I really need you to read it.)

This morning I got an email from Australian Poetry asking if I'd like to participate in a live poetry reading event alongside musicians in Melbourne, Australia -- my home town -- in June. Of course, I'd love to! was my first thought, and then remembered I live in Greece. And now I'm all down in the dumps.

It's all just hit me really hard, today, that I can't exploit myself and my writing here. I just can't -- full stop -- unless I was rich and could afford to jump on planes left, right, and center. And with the economy like it is now in Greece, I can't see myself putting away much savings. I'm already determined to make it to the USA for when my novel, String Bridge, is released in November. I will give up every single little luxury to put away every single penny towards the trip. I also wanted to make it to Australia for Christmas, to see my family. That is not a definite, but I'm hoping by the end of the year, I'll have the money to do that too.

So yeah, I'm down in the dumps. I can't attend poetry reading events that I'm personally invited to. I can't attend conferences, I can't attend workshops, I can't be involved in face-to-face critique groups. I can't even find any WRITER FRIENDS in my own city! (Well, I've met one lady, just recently, and I hoping a friendship will develop there, but it's not enough! I WANT MORE!) Can I have my two-year-old tantrum now? Can I cry and scream and yell and stamp my feet and say ... "I WANT TO LIVE IN AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY!?!?!"

No, I can't. Because, oh my god, I feel so selfish -- especially seeing what is going on in Japan right now. And also because I just walked past three homeless mothers and children sleeping on the footpath today on my way to the recording studio and didn't even have ten cents in my pocket to give them. I feel selfish. And I should pull myself together. Because I'm lucky. We all are. And I think we have to keep telling each other that every day to put things in perspective. So, yeah, I've had my tantrum. But now I'm going to walk away and cook some lentil soup (because we have nothing else in the fridge!) and be grateful for my hot lentil soup, and roof over my head, and the opportunity to work from home doing what I love, and my dear darling significant other for putting up with my sulking, and for my family, and my publisher Janice, and for my wonderful blogging friends who I CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT ... and my dog (GOD, this is sounding like the Oscars). But yeah, I think you get my point.

Be thankful. I don't even believe in God, but I'm going to go out on a limb, and say, PRAY. For peace, and for mother nature to get back to good health, and for all the conspiracies I'm hearing about to not be true because that would mean human kind stinks. Anyway, I love YOU. Tell someone you love them today, and appreciate every minute you have. Do it for me, because I'm feeling emotional ...

Hug please?

Tuesday 15 March 2011

How can writers learn to trust their instincts when they get opposing opinions on their work?

I've been submitting some poetry to an online magazine called Ramshackle Review, and despite having read their published poetry and determining that mine would fit, I keep getting rejected for the reason that, despite liking 'elements', they are not quite right, but the editor can't pinpoint what is right until he sees it, he says. This is totally fine, and totally understandable, and I think I'd probably be the same if I were an editor of a literary magazine. You wait for something to go "Pop! ohh this is good!" But since the last couple of emails with Ramshackle's editor, and since meeting with an aspiring writer here in Athens and giving her a little feedback on her work, it's made me wonder ...

How does a writer really know when his/her writing is publishable when every single opinion offered on the work is subjective?

And the answer, I guess, is: WE NEVER KNOW.

So many say that it takes practice and skill and years of determination to hone your craft, before your work is publishable. But does it? Really? When simply being in the right place at the right time might mean your work really 'clicks' with someone and they want to publish it?

Of course, a writer needs talent for this to happen, so yes, honing one's craft is important, but it sure puts writers on edge (writers like myself), and makes them question their work when something they've revised over and over gets rejected over and over, but something they wrote in five minutes and was never touched again gets published. Also, when something they've written makes someone cry, but the next reader fobs it off as 'not original enough.' How the hell is a writer supposed to know who to trust? And how do you learn to trust your own instincts when they're tainted by opposing reactions?

Perhaps you're hoping for answers to these questions, but unfortunately I can't give them to you because I need them answered for myself. I guess all we can do is, at least give our instincts the benefit of the doubt, keep submitting and submitting and submitting in the hope that our work will 'click' with someone. So don't waste time. Just submit your work. EVERYWHERE. Don't waste another second, because you never know when you might hit an editor's chord, and you don't want to miss that chance!

How about you? How do you know when something is ready to submit?

Monday 14 March 2011

My precious guitar is gone :o(

Mr. S had an event last night and borrowed my beautiful electric acoustic Washburn guitar (image to the right) for the guitarist of WIRE, so he didn't have to hire one. And guess what? He got drunk and lost it. He thinks he left it outside the venue, but he may have left it inside the doorway. Fat chance of getting it back if he did, in fact, leave it outside.
I am so angry right now I could smash a guitar. But, me being the type of person who doesn't scream, is sitting here with my jaw clenched and holding back tears. Of course, he said he'd buy me a new one if it doesn't turn up, but I don't want a new one. I want MY GUITAR--the one I've learned to love like a pet dog. I've nourished it, cherished it, pampered it for years and now it's gone. We learned to love each other, and the friction between the strings and fret board was perfect for me. It's really hard to find a guitar the suits the strength of one's fingers. Oh man ... please black beauty find your way home...

Has your loved one ever lost something of value to you? How did you handle it?

Update: Just got a call. It's still there! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Madonna's song "4 Minutes" is really about writing in the shower ...

I wrote a poem in the shower last night. Thanks to my aqua notes. Product review? Pretty cool. It is actually waterproof, but not indefinitely. After about four mintues of contact with water, the water kinda penetrated the waterproof soya layer and started making my words bleed. But the good thing is the pages underneath remained unharmed, so yeah, it's pretty good. Even Madonna knows what I'm talking about ...

... If you want it
You come and get it
If you thought it
It better be what you want
If you feel it
It must be real just
Say the word and i'm a give you what you want
Time is wasting
We only got 4 minutes to save the prose ...

Yeah, ok, I replaced world with prose. So what? I still think this song is about writing in the shower.

Here's what I wrote:

Shards of wet warmth
envelope my skin
with hot raw silk.
I tilt
my head
and my savior
gushes in my ear--
foam of waterfalls
from hot springs
off white
tiled wall
flecked with blue
grey inspiration
which glows
purple in sunlight--
the child
who brings me prose
in a basket
the colour of ripe seeds.

So, do you write in the shower? Do you find it a good place to mull over ideas?

PS: I was interviewed yesterday over at JM Leotti's Blog. For those of you who've known me for a while, you probably know the answers to most of the questions, but do me a favour and show JM a little blog love because she's awesome!!!

Wednesday 9 March 2011

I don't know how to write. Do you?

Please don't ask me how to write, because I don't know. And I don't know how to play guitar, or sing or write songs either. So please, don't ask. I can't tell you. I could never tell you. Maybe one day I'll be able to tell you. When I learn how. But right now, I don't know how. I just do it. And it works out somehow. I put fingers to keypad, pen to paper, callouses to strings, and it happens. I create. I don't have strategies. I don't have plans. Hell, I don't even have plot ideas most of the time before I start to write. But I do write. And then it turns into something.

Yes, I went to uni and studied English. But was I listening? Perhaps I was. Subconsciously. Because all I can remember about uni was sitting at the cafe and socialising with crazy looking punk chicks and dreaming about my next gig and the awesome electric guitar I won in a band competition and how I was going to go to its manufacturer to get them to make the body purple and sparkly. I actually graduated from uni with quite good grades, but I wasn't a genius. I did what I had to do to get the degree. But I still made it. Didn't I? And somehow everything I learnt at uni is being used today. When I write. And forget exactly how it is that I'm doing it.

Lose yourself when you write, people. It's the only way. And the only way to get the results you deserve: writing others can lose themselves in too.

Do you know how to do the thing you do?

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Last night I (almost) got decapitated (+ The Lie Revealed)

It seems I got many of you stumped yesterday! The embedded lie was number FIVE. No, I can't read sheet music, but I can't read guitar tabs either. I could probably very easily learn, but I'm lazy. I play everything by ear. So the lucky winner is Bz! Congrats! Email me your address and I'll get you your aqua notepad and pencil shipped out to you asap.

And now for the story. Of last night. Crazy sudden snow storm. Lots of wind. Balcony tents broken. Chairs pushed all the way up against the barrier. We also lost a cushion. It probably flew into someone else's balcony, or into the street somewhere ...

(PS: a couple of years ago in the middle of summer a huge gust of wind lifted our massive sun umbrella - you know, the ones that cover an entire table and four chairs kinda big - and went floating down the street and into the rear of the super market. We didn't see this happen, but some lady over the road did. Her voice filled the street: UMBRELLAHHHHHHH. What? Mary Poppins is real? Anyway, back to the story...)

... so, um, I got up at 3 or 4 am to see what the damage was and it had started to snow (it's still snowing - in March!), and proceeded to wind the tents up. They were banging and flapping about. Metal screeching on metal. I thought I had it under control. I loosened the metal hooks (the two that hadn't snapped), to wind it up, but just as I did so, a massive gust of wind lifted the tents from underneath and slammed them down again so fast I thought END OF ME. I saw myself being swung off my balcony with three meters of thick flapping tarpaulin. But thankfully my reflexes were working (miracle for so early in the morning) and I dropped my body to the ground (well, I kinda just did a very low duck) and the tarp missed my head by inches. Phew! So yeah, being a little melodramatic here, but, um ... good story, no?

So what's the weather like in your town? Is it out of the ordinary? Or is it abiding by its designated season?

Monday 7 March 2011

Today is my One-Year Blog Anniversary and I'm giving away ...


The first person to choose the one lie out of the seven statements below will win. So which out of the following is false about me?

1. When I was a kid I used to climb the fig tree in our back yard and sing to the plum tree opposite it to make the plums more purple.

2. Between the ages of 0-5 I was VERY blonde.

3. I can't wear the same long-sleeved top twice in a row if it was touching my skin, but I can wear short-sleeved tops twice in a row. Hmm, yeah, I'm weird like that.

4. I was thrown out of ballet school for making up my own steps. I then started jazz-ballet and told everyone I was taking tap lessons.

5. Being a guitarist, singer and songwriter, I never learnt how to read sheet music, but I can read guitar tabs.

6. I learnt German for six years, but now all I can remember is "Der hahn ist tut."

7. I used to make beaded jewelry. I still have a huge box of unused beads shoved in the back of my wardrobe.

So which is it, folks? Which one is THE LIE?

Good luck! I'll announce the result tomorrow!!!

PS: Today is Kathara Deftera in Greece (Clean Monday), which is the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. Traditionally people fly kites today. If I weren't still sick, I'd so go. Who wants to fly a kite for me? ;o)