Blog Entries
This Week - 20th February 2017
Category: Site News

Last night, I stuck a bright pink sticker on my computer saying - THIS WEEK – to remind me to do this. Somehow it totally failed to impinge on my consciousness. But better late than never…

It’s a cold wintry day here in Spain. But the almond blossom is out and there are narcissus in the garden, so signs that (hopefully) spring is not too far away.

On a personal note – I have a book on sale this week and a Bookbub featured ad on Thursday (yay – I love Bookbub!) and I have a new release next Monday – Falling for the Bad Girl, book 1 in a new Brazen series, so you’ll probably see me around (trying) to drum up some trade in various places.

The Blog this week is from Beike and she’s talking about widening her horizons. She’s sharing her experiences taking courses in creative writing from the University of Iowa’s MOOC program and how it has opened up new opportunities for her.

The Monday Muses today come from Alyson with some great word and visual prompts. And there are already a few muses to go read (but then Alyson was early, as opposed to me, who’s late!)

The Bragging stool has been a little quiet but huge congratulations to Sue, who this week celebrates 52 weeks on Ad Hoc. Without a break. Yay! And congratulations to Laura also on Ad Hoc this week.

Challenges – there’s still time to post in the February challenge, just pop over to the forum and check out what’s there. Or go crit one of the challenges already posted (my next stop!)

And finally, the next Formal meeting is next Sunday, 26th February at 4PM and will be chaired by Maggie. See you there.

Widening my horizons Tags: creativewriting MOOC learningtowrite writersoftheworld

I have now successfully completed three creative writing courses with the University of Iowa’s MOOC program. I have taken one poetry and two fiction courses and I wanted to share with you what this has meant to me. Apart for the fact that these courses have thought me much, something has grown here that surpasses the individual efforts of each story teller who participated. Christopher Merrill is the professor at the helm of this excellent venture. He fights bravely, in this current anti-intellectual climate, to keep the program funded so that writers from all over the world can gather, learn together, and share their work. And, in the process, share their cultures. As if all this wasn’t reason enough for encouragement and praise, ventures are flowing from this open forum and I am fortunate to be a part of one of them.

I belong to a spin-off group of beta-writers. Beth runs this group with a sharp mind and much enthusiasm and gives a group of about 40 writers the opportunity to get feedback and offer it on a monthly basis. I know most of us have had the opportunity to workshop and we all know how this can help us, or hinder us but the uniqueness of this group is its cultural diversity. At Writers Abroad we have already had a taste of this as we, who live all over the globe, stand in the cheering and helping lines for one another’s work. Beth’s beta readers group takes me even further afield because the members of this group are not necessarily English speaking expats. Many of them lnever left their country of birth but what they all have in common is that they write in English, whether it be their first language or not.

Beth’s group is opening a world for me where people might have a fundamentally different sense of how to tell a story simply because it is embedded in the traditions of the culture they were raised in. With a growing threat to our openness to other cultures this is a little flame that burns brightly and I am delighted to be able to tell you that the University of Iowa is dedicated to give Christopher Merrill the means to do this. I can only recommend that you try it out one day. No only will you get lectures from the best, by this I mean published and successful writers from all over the globe, you will also meet the world. I remember fondly the Russian writer, published in Russian in Russia who brought such a different sense of what literature can do. Another was a Caribbean writer, who had to deal with a cast of characters that boggles most minds.

Here is the link. New courses will be offered in the spring. They are free and you can audit, if you want, and you can drop out without penalty if this is not your cup of tea. Or you can go all the way, pay the $50 US and get a certificate if you successfully complete a minimum of tasks.

The Next Big Adventure
Category: Writing
Tags: writing vlogging flying adventures

At sixty-one years old the question of what I want to do with the rest of my life pops up frequently.  In my head, anyway.  Maybe by this time most people already know this, or, perhaps they’re already doing it. Not me, though.  I’ve always been one to plan for the next adventure even as I’m experiencing this one.

Our granddaughter looking out over Rosarito, Mexico

My husband and I are private pilots and have owned our own small airplanes for most of our forty-two years together.  We began with a Piper Tri-pacer that we hand started by swinging the prop.  In that we flew over the top of Mount Saint Helen one week after it blew, our two sons, ages two and three, sitting in the jump seat behind us.  The image of that smoking giant surrounded by miles and miles of mud-slicked terrain with pine trees on their sides like toothpicks, remains firmly stamped onto my mind. From that plane we moved to Cessnas, 172’s, 182’s, 210’s, and my own plane, a sweet little 152 that now lives in Israel at a flight training school.  Oh yes, we keep track of them after we sell them, where they are and if they’re getting the attention they deserve.  Planes are like children, or, in a different context, mistresses, in that one becomes emotionally involved with them. 

Landing at Ensenada, Mexico

My husband Guy learned to fly helicopters when he went to Viet Nam in the early 1970’s, and he brought the Flying Fever to our relationship.  I saw early on that his passion for flying would either result in a separation between us or as a point of unity.  So I got my own pilot’s license and the pictures of our planes rest proudly on the living room wall, nestled amongst all of the other family photos.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, we have a plan. We come up with them every decade or two.  Our goal is to investigate the possibility of becoming you tubers.  Vlogging.  We’re most familiar with Baja California in Mexico, the small peninsula that runs under California USA.  We spent years exploring the small airports there, staying in remote and not-so-remote areas, and now we’re looking into the possibility of vlogging about it. 

Guy, El Piloto

We’ve set the end of this year to get the house in order, scan the photos, finish the family stories, get rid of extra stuff and pack away what we’ll want in our old, old age.  If all goes according to plan, it will go into a storage unit where we will keep the Tahoe and a travel trailer.  This (huge) house will be sold and we’ll take to the road for a year or more. 

Of course things might go awry.  Or off track.  One of us might die, or get sick, or, or, or.  When I was nineteen and Guy was twenty-three, he took a job with a military contractor to work for the Shah of Iran.  We were posted in a hardship area on an Iranian military base.  When my aunt, who had never left her state, heard of this, she was appalled.

“How will you ever be able to save up to buy your own home?” she asked, after several other what if’s failed to change my mind.  That question decided me.  If, I thought, my next adventure was centered around being able to buy a house my life was over before it began.  We were definitely going.

Of course, carefully laid plans are not always a go.  Life happens and I get that.  But it gives me a definitive goal to do what needs to be done anyway.  Clean things up for the next adventure, no matter what it is, is where my head is at these days.





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This Week - 20th February 2017
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