• writing

    12 Awesome Women Explorers

    It is done! Months of research, and hours of agonising which of the many wonderful women to include – today 12 Awesome Women Explorers was published. Initially only on Kindle, but soon to be available in print, and on iBooks. One of the challenges of writing this book, was finding women who were explorers in a positive sense. Not rich, entitled white women who ‘explored’ countries where people had been living quite happily for many years, but those who actually brought a deeper understanding between peoples, or who made exciting scientific discoveries.

  • writing

    Guest Post – My Make Up Day

    A good friend of mine wore make-up last week. You may be wondering why that is worthy of a blog post, but you see Millie doesn’t wear make up. Not that she rarely uses cosmetics. She NEVER wears make up. She doesn’t own any cosmetics at all.   She posted a photo on Facebook, and was debating whether to wipe it all off, when I suggested she leave it for the day and blog about the reaction of her friends and family. She has written about the word ‘cosmetic’ on her brilliant etymology blog here.

  • is creative work worthless
    writing

    Is Creative Work Worthless?

    ‘Was nix kostet, ist nix wert’   This German saying, which means, ‘What costs nothing, is worth nothing’ is one I use a lot. Lately I have been using it a lot when talking about payment for writing, and it came to mind when I read this blog post from writer, Nate Thayer, who was asked if he would be interested in having one of his articles republished on The Atlantic website. When he asked about format, deadline and fees, he was informed that while the Atlantic would like to publish his work, they were not willing to pay him for it. His reply:   I am a professional journalist who has made my…

  • writing

    Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

      One of my favourite bloggers, Peter, wrote a very thought provoking article today about Forgiveness. Do go and read it first, I will wait for you to return.   Did you enjoy it? I very much did. It struck a chord in me. Today I was thinking about forgiveness, and forgiving ones self, which led me to think about past mistakes. We have all made decisions in our life that we have later regretted. Some decisions are life-changing, some are merely ones to be looked back on with regret, or with sorrow. I am generally an optimistic person, a glass-half-full type of woman. If you were to ask me…

  • writing

    The Twins – A Short Story by My Daughter

    i am going to tell you a story about 2 twin girls… it start’s now. along the old days when tv, telephone and electricity did not exist, there lived 2 twin girls 1 wose called Katy and the ather 1 wose called Anabelle i now that there names don’t rime bit they wore stil twins ! there wose just 1 problem katy wose a tom boy and Anabelle wose a girly girl ! katy wose more a girl that like’t this cind of sofe and anabelle this kind of stof evrebody sed that they wore not twins !!! bit they are just becose they aren’t exactelly the same it dose…

  • writing

    Writers Workshop – A Story and a Recipe

    The theme of this month’s Writers Workshop was “A Story and a Recipe” Here are the guidelines: Its autumn and time for gathering friends and family in our homes. Its a time for searching for old recipes and for trying new ones. A time for finding pleasure and contentment in baking bread and cakes and cookies and in cooking meals for loved ones. Have a closer look at the recipes you love: Is there a story connected with one of them? Is there one you got on a very special occasion? One you got from a special person? One you had to chase after for a long time? Or just…

  • writing

    My Bucket List

    It is not something that I have thought of before – what things do I want to do before I kick the bucket. Not that I have any intention of doing that any time soon, but if there is one thing I enjoy doing, it is writing lists. My mother used to tease me about my lists, asking if I needed to make a list of my lists to keep track of them. When I read Ellen’s blog post about a bucket list, I immediately thought of the Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson film.     I watched the Bucket List a few years ago and it is truly a wonderful film, although I have…

  • writing

    Writers Workshop – Dictionary

    Today I attended a Writers Workshop. The instructions were to chose a word from the dictionary and to write a piece around this word, fiction or non-fiction. This is mine. Facetious   1: joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish 2: meant to be humorous or funny : not serious “Don’t be facetious” I was perhaps seven years old when I first heard my Granddad use this word. Facetious. I rolled the unfamiliar word around my tongue. “What does that mean Granddad?”, I asked. “It means that you should not make fun of me, or make silly remarks”, he replied. Granddad had an amusing hobby. He read the dictionary. Every…

  • writing

    Remembering 9/11 – The Day Before

    Like many people all over the world, this weekend my thoughts turn to New York. Ten years ago today we could never have imagined what the following 24 hours would bring. We went about our day, happy and carefree, or sad and depressed,  or a combination of emotions.     Just one day later, the emotions we would feel would be shock, confusion, grief, terror. That time of my life was a pleasant one, I was pregnant for the third time and at last I had gone past the critical 12 weeks. The two miscarriages made me nervous, wary of being too happy about my pregnancy, but gradually I was…

  • writing

    My daughter, the writer

    Does she write, because she sees me writing? Does she write, because she likes to write? Does she write, because she has to write? Recently my nine year old daughter told me that she had to finish her story, “.. I don’t really want to finish, but I must. I cannot stop writing, even though I am tired”, she sighed. I won’t pretend that I was not proud and delighted to hear that. My mini-me. She writes in English, despite learning to read in French. When she wrote this story earlier, her first on her new computer that she paid for by saving her pocket money, she told me that…

  • writing

    Beth – Chapter 9

    The latest installment of the story of Beth, who has moved to Geneva to further her career as a lawyer. Here Beth discovers the downside of being an expat – the loneliness. For earlier chapters look here: Chapter One – The Decision Chapter Two – The Farewell Chapter Three – The Flight Chapter Four – The Apartment Chapter Five – The Company Chapter Six – The Neighbour Chapter Seven – The New Job Chapter Eight – The Loneliness Chapter Nine Beth awoke with a start, her heart pounding, her pyjamas sticking to her body. Sitting up in bed, she raised her hands to her cheeks, unsurprised to find them wet.…

  • writing

    Beth – Chapter Eight

    The latest installment of the story of Beth, who has moved to Geneva to further her career as a lawyer. Here she moves into her new flat and meets her neighbour. For earlier chapters look here: Chapter One – The Decision Chapter Two – The Farewell Chapter Three – The Flight Chapter Four – The Apartment Chapter Five – The Company Chapter Six – The Neighbour Chapter Seven – The New Job Chapter Eight With a sigh of relief, Beth shut down her computer and stacked her files neatly on the corner of her desk. She had trained herself to be neat after starting work with Carnegie. Not being a…

  • writing

    Chapter Seven – Beth Starts Work

    The latest installment of the story of Beth, who has moved to Geneva to further her career as a lawyer. Here she moves into her new flat and meets her neighbour. For earlier chapters look here: Chapter One – The Decision Chapter Two – The Farewell Chapter Three – The Flight Chapter Four – The Apartment Chapter Five – The Company Chapter Six – The Neighbour Chapter Seven On her first day at the new office, Beth walked to work. It was quite the contrast to her previous commute, stuck in a stifling tube for thirty minutes with other stressed travellers. Here in Geneva she left her flat, strolled down…

  • writing

    These are The Times We Shall Dream About…

    This week is MS Awareness Week and today is the funeral of my lovely friend Hilda, who died last Wednesday after battling MS for over 20 years. Who was Hilda? She was a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend. She was loved by many. Right now her family and friends are gathering in my hometown to bury Hilda, to send her on her final journey, free of pain at last. Hilda was a friend of our family for many years. I cannot say when I first met her, I guess I was quite young at the time. We got to know each other better when…

  • writing

    Chapter Six – Beth Meets Her Neighbour

    The latest installment of the story of Beth, who has moved to Geneva to further her career as a lawyer. Here she moves into her new flat and meets her neighbour. For earlier chapters look here:Chapter One – The DecisionChapter Two – The FarewellChapter Three – The FlightChapter Four – The ApartmentChapter Five – The Company The main character was called Dora in earlier chapters. Due to popular demand her name has been changed to Beth. I will go back and change the earlier chapters tomorrow. Chapter Six At 6 am the following morning, Beth was awake and dressed ready for a quick breakfast before going to open the apartment for the arrival of the…

  • writing

    In which Dora becomes Beth in Chapter Five

    I have taken onboard the comments about the name “Dora” being, for women with young children, synonymous with the slightly annoying bilingual girl with the monkey sidekick. So, without further ado, changed her name to Beth – with thanks to my Twitter friends for their suggestions. Read Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter 4 Chapter Five There was no way to put this off any longer. Beth had to go into the office. She walked into the office building, a modern glass structure near the centre of town, and gave her name to the chic receptionist at the marble topped desk. Waiting while the woman contacted Beth’s office, she turned and looked…

  • writing

    Beth- Chapter Four

    More of my Dora story. This is Chapter Four. Read Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three The soft ringing of the telephone woke Dora on her first full day in Geneva. She answered her wake-up call then sank back down in her pillows for a moment. The room was dark but she could see a sliver of sunshine through a gap in the curtains. Tempted by the new day, she slipped into her flip-flops and shuffled to the window to pull the curtains open. Did one over tire of this? Dora thought she could stand all day and just look at the lake, the hills behind rising steeply above the…

  • writing

    Dora – Letter in a Bottle

    This is today’s work for the Writers Workshop – today the theme was “Working with writing prompts”. I chose the sentence, “She hesitated at the post box, not knowing if she should really send the letter” and tied it in with my Dora story. This scene will come later in the book, it is not Chapter Four. Earlier chapters here: Chapter One. Chapter Two. Chapter Three. Letter in A Bottle Dora sat, picked up a pen and wrote. She wrote of her disappointment, her hurt, her anger, her fear. Tears welled in her eyes then ran down her cheeks to drip down onto the page. In her head, she was…

  • writing

    Dora – Chapter 3

    Chapter Three  Start by reading Chapter One and Chapter Two Stuffing her magazine into her carry-on bag, Dora stood and walked to the counter, placing her passport in the outstretched hand of the air hostess. She turned her face slightly so that the other woman could not see her bruises. Though they were less noticeable than they had been a few days ago, she was still conscious of the curious looks of strangers. Handing back Dora’s passport the hostess wished her a pleasant flight. Her head down, her mood sombre, Dora walked cautiously down the steps to the waiting bus. Other travelers jostled for space in the bus, positioning themselves near the doors,…

  • writing

    Dora – Chapter 3

    Chapter Three  Start by reading Chapter One and Chapter Two Stuffing her magazine into her carry-on bag, Dora stood and walked to the counter, placing her passport in the outstretched hand of the air hostess. She turned her face slightly so that the other woman could not see her bruises. Though they were less noticeable than they had been a few days ago, she was still conscious of the curious looks of strangers. Handing back Dora’s passport the hostess wished her a pleasant flight. Her head down, her mood sombre, Dora walked cautiously down the steps to the waiting bus. Other travelers jostled for space in the bus, positioning themselves near the doors,…

  • writing

    Dora – Chapter Two

    Chapter Two  Read Chapter One here first . Dora put the last folder in the packing box and gazed at her office. She had been working here for the past four years and it was strange to think that this was the last time she would cross to the window and look out at the London streets, busy and bustling as ever. The old man across the road was shutting up his flower shop, emptying the buckets into the gutter, putting the tables into the shop. She remembered when she first started working here, she would often pick up a small bunch of flowers for her desk. That was when she had…

  • writing

    Beth – Chapter One

    Beth- Chapter One  Beth opened the door of her apartment. Tilting her head she listened to the sound of Ravel’s Bolero filling the small space. “Shit”, she muttered under her breath. She knew what that meant, and she was NOT in the mood.   Frowning, she wondered how Finlay could have known that she was on her way home. She had not let him know that the meeting had been cancelled. She hung up her coat, took off her shoes and put them in the shoe cupboard, automatically reaching for Finlay’s shoes and jacket on the floor, where he had left them. Untidy bugger.   She stared at the second pair…

  • writing

    Dora

    I started this a while ago and never went back to it. Hmm. I quite like it and think I will carry on. What do you think? Dora opened the door of her apartment. Tilting her head she listened to the sound of Ravel’s Bolero filling the small space. Finlay must have come home early from work, just as she had. She should be happy that they had an unexpected afternoon, but she had a lot of thinking to do and wanted to have some time alone to do it. That afternoon she had been offered a new job. A great new job, furthering her career, it was exactly the…

  • writing

    American Triangle – A Short Story

    Our assignment for this month’s Writers’ Workshop was to write a short story, based on the lyrics of a song, using the words of the song as our title, and the lyrics as the plot. I found this quite a difficult task. The first song I chose, Abba’s Slipping Through My Fingers about children growing up too fast turned out to be too twee and cheesy when written as a story. So I flicked through my iPod, looking for good songwriters. My finger stopped at Elton John and I listened to this track from the album American Songbook, one of his less well known songs, but one of his most…

  • writing

    Rambing Minds -Writers’ Workshop

    From my Writers’ Workshop Damn. I have left it too late. I should have started earlier. Now I have to pick the kids up from school in an hour.   An hour is long enough to write a short story on the topic, Rambling Minds. No bother.   Hmm. Rambling Minds. I could write about the Ramblers, the walking group that my parents belong to. First, I will check how many members they have, they are a UK nationwide group so it must be a lot.   www.ramblers.co.uk Wow. 123,000 members. That is a lot. I can ask Mum about her group.   Email: mmelindtsmum@pretendemail.com   Hi Mum,   Am…

  • writing

    Aufwiedersehen Uncle Dave

    The driech start to the day suited my mood this morning, as I walked the dog along the banks of Lake Geneva. Today I would rather be in Scotland where my family are gathering to say goodbye to Uncle Dave, the patriarch of our clan – in recent years he has been called “The Laird” due to his penchant for carrying a large walking stick. He was the eldest of 10 children born to my Granny and Grandad Mac, and since the passing of his parents has been the head of the family. A fierce defender of his family, he attended every family event and was the life and soul…

  • writing

    Twitter Magic Moments

    So excited about our holiday. Off with the family to sunny Spain. Two weeks of sun, sea, sand and… UKMum Sat. 5th June 2010 at 6:50 @UKMum have fun, enjoy the s… sangria Tunnockslover Sat. 5th June 2010 at 6:52 @UKMum don’t forget to bring me back some sun, hope you have a fab holiday. Shouldbeironing Sat. 5th June 2010 at 6:55 Checking in. Massive queue. Could do with that sangria right now. Daughter being a pain, is tired and fed up. UKMum Sat. 5th June 2010 at 7:30 @UKMum *offers glass of chilled Sangria* Dogowner Sat. 5th June 2010 at 7:32 @Dogowner *downs Sangria in one gulp* UKMum Sat.…

  • writing

    Writers’ Workshop – Neighbours

    My second Writers’ Workshop was just as enjoyable as the first. Here my story. Old Neighbours “Morning, Dad. How are you today?” “I would be fine if it weren’t for that crazy witch next door interfering again”. “Dad, have you been arguing with Mrs Gibson again? Why can you not just ignore her? You know she has been slightly odd since Mr Gibson died”. “Odd? Completely off her rocker, you mean. She was out in her garden at 7am deadheading roses. At 7 am!” “Perhaps she couldn’t sleep and wanted to start on some chores. After Mum died, you had trouble sleeping. It is not unusual after bereavement”. “I didn’t…

  • writing

    My first Writers’ Workshop Experience

    As I mentioned yesterday, I have recently signed up for a Writers’ Workshop. Today was the first day that I could attend. When I arrived I could smell the coffee and sense the anticipation as the women mingled. New to the whole thing, I had only brought one copy of my short story on the theme Rite of Passage, so I rushed off to copy it for everyone. Refreshed by the coffee, we began. First one to read was a woman who wrote about motherhood being a Rite of Passage. Her work was constructively criticised with the emphasis on the constructive. The pieces were varied – from birth to first…