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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Has technology killed our ability to have a face-to-face conversation?


side profile of a young couple talking laughing at work enjoyment 2 25 30 years black blonde brunette caucasian colour co worker desk eye level head indoor laughing man mid adult man mid adult woman office office worker relaxing showing sitting smiling square suit two people white woman workplace highkey A man and woman chatting. Yes, this image is almost ten years old (Picture: Alamy)

Do you fancy a chat later? Brilliant, just email me.

Not so long ago, meetings were a staple of working life, but a recent survey conducted by technology market research firm Radicati reports that ‘pinging’ over a message is now the most popular way to communicate in business.

It is easy to see why. Not only is it fast, but the response you receive is often more concise, saving time that could have been wasted by sitting through a marathon conference. Just sum it up in an email, please.

Reliance on technology extends to our homes and schools. The dinner table, once the stronghold of family discussion, has been invaded by the mobile devices which saturate society. Teenagers have one eye on Facebook while parents try and fail to strike up a conversation. Texting in…

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The Silk Road is back: Online marketplace for contraband is booming


Black market: users can buy drugs and weapons anonymously on the site (Picture: ?) Black market: users can buy drugs and weapons anonymously on the site (Picture: Silk Road)

The underground website Silk Road is back and business is booming – just eight months after the FBI shut the site down.

Silk Road, a ‘darknet’ black market where users can buy contraband including drugs and weapons, was shut down in October 2013 by the FBI, who also arrested Ross Ulbricht, the site’s alleged mastermind.

Dread Pirate Roberts: An artist rendering of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht at his San Francisco trial (Picture: AP) Dread Pirate Roberts: An artist rendering of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht at his San Francisco trial (Picture: AP/Vicki Behringer)

However, users took control of the Silk Road domain and the site is now thriving.

Ulbricht, who used the pseudonym ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ during his time allegedly running the Silk Road, has been replaced by a new user who has adopted the moniker as his own.

Seized: the FBI shut down  Silk Road in ? (Picture: ?) Seized: the FBI shut down Silk Road in 2013 (Picture: Silk Road)

‘Never forget that [the FBI]…

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Clear history: Google told to wipe your past off the net in landmark court ruling


Google, IWF Re-writing your online history: Google has been told to delete web links (Picture: File/AP)

Google has been told to ‘rewrite history’ by deleting web links which might upset or embarrass anyone.

The internet giant today lost a court battle which granted a complainant the ‘right to be forgotten’.

It means Google or other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo!, could be forced to remove some results when certain names are searched.

Privacy campaigners welcomed the principle that links to out-of-date or incorrect information might be deleted but others warned that it could be used to cover up wrongdoing and stifle free speech.

Big Brother Watch said: ‘If we start to make intermediaries responsible for the actions or the content of other people, you’re establishing a model that leads to greater surveillance and a risk of censorship.’

The ruling, which was given by the European courts and cannot be appealed…

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iPhone 6 release date: Apple handset due for early August launch?

Sell it to me!


iPhone 6 release date rumours: Apple handset set for early August launch? iPhone 6 release date rumour: Apple to launch new handset in August? (Picture: Reuters)

Apple has been tipped to release its new iPhone 6 earlier than expected, with the new handset to launch in August according to the latest rumours.

The Cupertino-based tech giant traditionally unveils its new iPhone models in September, but the next incarnation could now arrive one month earlier than industry watchers were generally expecting.

A 4.7-inch screen version of the iPhone 6 will reach stores in August, according to Taiwanese media reports citing unidentified supply-chain sources.

A 5.5-inch or 5.6-inch model will be then released in September, it has been claimed, with a total of 80million handsets expected to be produced this year.

Apple has been tipped to introduce a completely redesigned iPhone, featuring a bigger screen and better battery life.

CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Phil Schiller speaks about the new iPhone 5S during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus on September 10, 2013 in Cupertino, California. The company launched two new iPhone models that will run iOS 7. The 5C is made from a hard-coated polycarbonate and comes in five colors. The 5S comes in three colors and contains an A7 chip.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Phil Schiller speaks about the iPhone 5S in September last year (Picture: Getty)

MORE:iPhone 6 rumour…

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