What’s your writing inspiration this summer?

Summer days are great for lots of things – getting out and enjoying your city or town, meeting up with friends, spending more time with family, taking holidays and slipping out of the rhythms of the daily grind. For writers, it can also be a time for inspiration. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a period…

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Three A-list towns in Provence: Avignon, Arles, and Aix

Provence’s interior has so many lovely hill towns, and stunning nature, that visitors are forgiven for not wanting to jeopardize a tranquil holiday with the hustle and bustle of larger towns. Yet the following three towns make the A-list of any planned visit to Provence – there’s simply no excuse not to visit Avignon, Arles, and…

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Seven essential elements of a bestselling novel

The ever-helpful Writer’s Digest fuels the imagination of aspiring authors with their handy checklist: Seven essential elements of a bestselling novel. Some – like readability and reasons to care – are obvious. Others, like seeking out controversy are interesting suggestions. The example provided uses as an example Scarlett O’Hara of Gone with the Wind. By any…

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Gallipoli : The “beautiful city”

Gallipoli is a lovely town in the region of  Puglia  – the heel of the Italian boot – and is just along the Ionian Sea. This part of Puglia is known as the Salento, an absolute must-see region and one of my favorite southern Italian destinations. Salento is best known for its beautiful, unspoiled beaches and…

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Favorite summer reads? Part 2

Last week I wrote about summer reading in general, those distant memories of long summer holidays and stacks of good books I’d devour as a child. Seems that, despite work, and family obligations, and-ahem-the tiny amount of time I (should) eke out for writing, some things simply don’t change. I still love summer reading, and…

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Mountain bliss in Leysin, Switzerland

I clearly have Switzerland on my mind this summer. That’s because I’ve been up bringing my older son to French camp and picking him up, and I’ve had time to explore the pretty region around Lake Geneva. And this is the idyllic mountaintop community where he’s been spending his time – Leysin. In the winter,…

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Favorite summer reads?

I don’t know what it is about summer, but the books I read over the summer holidays are always indelibly stamped on my brain. I can remember long summer holidays as a kid, and the books I read. I remember being nine, sitting by a lake and reading the terrifying story of ‘Bella’, a possessed…

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Looking for a Rome day trip? Medieval Sermoneta

This wonderfully preserved medieval town, south of Rome in the region of Lazio, is an enjoyable daytrip from Italy’s capital. Tiny Sermoneta is truly a pleasure to visit, and feels light years away from the chaos of Rome. Wander the winding, cobblestone streets and enjoy the panoramic views over the valley. On clear days, you…

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Earth to female authors? The Booker Prize 2014

The longlist to the Booker 2014 has been released, and what a white-male-dominated list it is. I’ve already written about innovative social media campaigns such as #Readwomen2014, created because talented, female authors are largely ignored by mainstream literary journals. I also read excellent  sites such as The Writes of Women and VIDA , both of which bring…

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