• 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…

  • Review

    Best Twitter Tips For Writers

    For any self-published authors out there – I have blogged on Off The Shelf Book Promotions about publicising your book on Twitter. This post gives basic Twitter tips for writers, to help you hit the ground running when you sign up to Twitter.    Debbie’s book Sell Your Books aims to help self-published authors market their books. It is concise, well-written and chockablock with useful tips, from identifying your target market, planning your strategy to getting media coverage. While it is a must-buy for those who have published their own books, it also contains plenty of tips for those who are working with a publisher. As Debbie says, ‘If you…

  • Germany

    Rambling in a Biergarten

    It occurred to me that lately I have done lots of ranting and campaigning on the blog, and not as much general rambling, reviews, and travel reports. It has become a bit too much Salt and not enough Caramel. I started to rectify this earlier today with a blog post about my new handbag and find myself wishing to tell you readers more about my life. It has been a busy couple of months. Moving to Scotland, receiving the offer to blog in Kenya, my first book contract, agreeing to host a workshop for Mumsnet about Social Media, writing for Salt&Caramel, Jump! Mag and more recently for the Gates Foundation…

  • Feminism

    Seeking Contributors For Pre-Teen Blog for Girls – No Fluffy Kittens or Pink Glitter

    In a supermarket recently, my kids asked if they could have a comic. We headed for the newspaper stands and they browsed for a while but my daughter found it really difficult to choose one. She remarked that she was sometimes a girly girl but sometimes a tomboy too and the girl comics were all about make up and boys, horses and cats. Nothing against cute pictures of cats, but after 5 minutes of looking at them, what was she supposed to do? The articles are generally boring and not terribly well written. Who decided that all pre-teen girls are only interested in fluff like that? I think that they…

  • 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 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

    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 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

    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

    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

    Rite of Passage – A Short Story

    I have written a short story for the writer’s workshop tomorrow. The theme this month is “Rite of Passage”. Ella looked around the table at the familiar faces, suddenly aware that it would be the last time that they would all sit together. Sure, they would meet again when everyone was home for the holidays but the days of lounging for hours, lingering over chai lattes, sharing a low fat muffin, while discussing school work, these days were almost over. So many hours had been spent here in Starbucks, and soon she would be drinking her chai latte alone, at least until she had made some friends. An outgoing girl,…