Monthly Archives: May 2014

On coping with writer’s block (or the lies we tell ourselves along the way)

Black coffee and cigarettes

writing 2

I haven’t written for a very long time.

I joined a creative writing class a while ago to help me through my ‘writer’s block’ – can you call yourself a writer if you don’t write? – and I managed to produce a total of 500 words over the entire four-week course. A paltry amount by any standards, though the course itself was brilliant.

One of the suggestions from my fellow writers was to write about why I don’t write. I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons I don’t write lately so this seemed as good a place to kick off my writing again as any. And also address why I call myself a writer in the first place – a hard sell in the writing void of the last few months.

In my professional life, I have been a public relations consultant, a journalist and now, an editor. Words…

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Behind the Cover: The Incredible Photography of Kelia Anne MacCluskey

Anna Shinoda

2p_learning_jkt-version-21.jpgBehind every cover is not just the story written by the author, but also one of how the visual representation of that book came to be.  This is the story of how Learning Not to Drown ended up with its incredible cover.

EDWIN USHIRO To Counter Imponderability EDWIN USHIRO To Counter Imponderability

You might be surprised to hear that most authors get little to no say in what their covers look like.  Since I can be really pickycontrolling, hands-on, I wanted to give my suggestions on what I’d like to see.  I also am very aware that I don’t know anything about what makes a good cover for a book and the professionals Atheneum/Simon & Schuster definitely do, so I timidly asked my editor if I could give them a small list of some artists that I thought would represent my work well.  My editor told me that YA books usually have photos…

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An Orphanage is not a Tourist Destination nor am I in ‘Africa’

teacher monika

I took a week long camping safari with Intrepid Tours where I traveled from Nairobi through to the National Parks and sights. I was more than happy to see the Maasai Mara, the Great Rift Valley, Hells Gate – among other natural sites full of wildlife, geologic beauty and grandness, but to have one of their stops be at an orphanage? I couldn’t stomach it.

We pulled up and stopped just inside the gate of the orphanage. Everyone stepped out of the bus to meet the orphaned children, take their photos and squeeze in some cuddles. I remained seated on the bus and silently waited for this horror to be over. The tourists get time to hand over some gifts – pencils, colours, exercise books and sweets during this visit. A tour mate comes back onto the bus to grab his camera and he asks me if I’m alright. I…

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