Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happy New Year! Don't make resolutions, make plans!

Most of us know that making New Year's resolutions doesn't work. Over the years we vow to exercise, eat better, save more money, work harder, quit smoking. But life happens, holidays end and soon other things take away our attention. I believe that we resist making positive changes because it all sounds so negative and a lot like drudgery: diet, exercise, quit smoking. Who wants drudgery? Life is too short for drudgery. 
So, why not make New Year's promises that are fun, easy to keep and good for us instead? Here is how: First, take five minutes to write down a Bucket List of all the things you would like to experience, buy and accomplish. 
For example: 
Fall in love 
Write a book 
Buy a home 
Retire and Travel 
Sail around the world 
Write everything that comes to mind. Keep adding ideas to this list no matter how unrealistic or crazy. Next, go through your list and at the end of each line add the year in which you want to accomplish that goal.
Like this: 
Fall in love - 2022 
Write a best selling book - 2023 
Buy a home - 2025 
Retire and Travel – 2030 
Sail around the world – 2035 
Soon, you'll realize three things. The first one is that you are having fun. The second one is that you want everything now, this year if not this month. And the third is that you'll start sorting out your priorities. For example if you have a good job now, you might focus on making lots of money first and retire in five/ten/twenty years. Or if you don't have a good job and you love to travel more than anything, you decide to take a year off to CouchSurf and do Workaways. Hey, you might even crew on a sail boat in Greece and meet your soul mate while traveling. Finally, post your list where you can see it every day. 

Your assignment for today: Take five minutes and make your list now. Post it where you can see it.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Another article published

How to build a boarding ramp is in print in the August issue of Practical Boat Owner magazine. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Don't get it perfect, get it done.

I have dozens if not hundreds first drafts on my laptop and in my notebooks, on scraps of paper, and on my phone. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the unfinished projects. Other times, I revisit one of them in an attempt to revise and edit, so that hopefully I can send it to a prospective publisher and perhaps find some readers.
What is the problem? It is perfectionism and fear of criticism coupled with the creative impulse that has no limit. The creative force is unlimited. What we must do is now and then, stop and turn our left, logical brain on and say to ourselves, "OK, now I will focus on this one project until it is finished and sent on its way." 
According to Jordan Peterson, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. If only my editor agreed!

Friday, 17 June 2022


We all want to be inspired, especially when we try to write a story, or paint a picture, or compose a song. But what is inspiration? 
The word means to breathe in. Breath gives and sustains life. Without it, we die.
When a baby is born, we wait with expectation  until it takes its first breath, often anxiously holding our own as if there were only so much air available.
Perhaps we need something that takes our breath away to inspire us.
Beauty inspires me. Other people's accomplishments inspire me. Also books and movies. Encouraging comments from my readers inspire me.
Similarily to love, we cannot force inspiration. We can only show up and hope that it will find us.
So, show up at your desk each day and pick up a pen or open your laptop. Inspiration, like love is everywhere, you just need to open your heart and eyes.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Passarelle Construction article accepted by Practical Boat Owner

I have great news! My Passarelle Construction article has been accepted by Practical Boat Owner magazine. It will feature in the August issue of the magazine. I can't wait to see it in print.

Here is the teaser for you:

"Cruisers who sail in the Mediterranean, need to be prepared for the Med style mooring, either bow or stern to a dock. to make getting on and off the boat easier, many people use special gangways called passerelles. My 32-foot Ted Brewer designed, East Orient is like most offshore sailboats - high bow and stern, which makes them safe at sea, yet more difficult for boarding. After a visit from elderly guests, I became interested in finding a better way of getting on and off my boat than by stepping on the anchor and climbing over the pulpit. I was delighted to see John Chipps building a passerelle on the dock in Lefkada, Greece where both of us were staying for the winter."

Read the entire feature article in the August issue.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Anyone can become a published author.

Most people have great stories to tell. Even children. I strongly encourage everyone to write down their own stories or your parents', grandparents' and other family members' stories. They say that history is written by the winners, but with a simple and free program, anyone can be an author. Check out the kdp program and become a published author. 
My latest book is now available both in English and French. 

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Happy New Year!

 Stop Making New Year's Resolutions That Are Sure To Fail -

Do What Works (And Is Fun) Instead

Most of us know that making New Year's resolutions doesn't work. Over the years we vow to exercise, eat better, save more money, work harder, quit smoking. But life happens, holidays end and soon other things take away our attention.

I believe that we resist making positive changes because it all sounds so negative and a lot like drudgery: diet, exercise, quit smoking. Who wants drudgery? Life is too short for drudgery.

So, why not make New Year's promises that are fun, easy to keep and good for us instead? Here is how:

Monday, 6 December 2021

Meet the Author and Book Signing

Thank you to everyone who came to support me in my very first official book signing. It was a great success and I am amazed and grateful at how many books I sold.

Here are a few of the people who bought my books. It was lovely to meet you all!

And thank you to my friend and a new author, Lizzy Bolan who joined me in the book signing. Her new book was selling like hot cakes!

And those of you who missed out, feel free to order your books on Amazon. I will be happy to sign them for you next time I see you!


Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Writers' Group is meeting again

Over the summer, while many of us were sailing, I changed the name of the Lefkas Writers' Group to a more inclusive one, Cruising Writers' Group. The name will remain such, since some of our members keep cruising all year. 

Members and prospective members who will be spending the winter in Lefkas Marina or nearby are welcome to join us once a week on Wednesdays at 11 am at Porto Cafe. Our first meeting will take place on November 3. Those of you who are not nearby, feel free to join us via Facebook Messenger video.

I would also like to thank Lizzy Bolan for her unstinting support in keeping this group going both through lockdown last winter and also over the summer. 

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

How to Write Your Book One Simple Step at a Time is now available on Amazon!


Click here to see more
I am thrilled to report that my latest book is now published and available from Amazon. I would like to thank everyone (you know who you are), who helped with the final edit and proofread to get it to this stage. I hope it does well and would be grateful to any of you who read it to post a review.

How to Write Your Book One Simple Step at a Time is a guide and a workbook. It offers something that I found lacking in the help section for writers, although many books, videos, and podcasts have been published on the subject. They all take too much time to read or watch. Time that could be spent writing. Here, in short, one-page chapters, you will receive prompts that will get you moving toward completing your fiction, memoir, or creative non-fiction book. Read them in order and complete the assignment in each, before moving on to the next one. There is room in the workbook for your assignments and notes.

Here is the first review: 

An excellent, easy-to-follow guide to writing a book. It is well written and very informative; full of lots of helpful tips and advice, encouraging the reader to get writing, and work on their own manuscript. The book provides a structure to keep the reader focused, setting useful assignments in manageable chunks, so that they do not become overwhelmed by the task, and lose interest. Brilliant - a very useful guide and workbook. -- Elizabeth Bolan, author and editor.

And here it is in French, with thanks to my translator, Sophie Richer.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

How Often Do You Write?

 This is the question a new writer posted on a forum recently.  Here is my answer: 

I write, read, research, edit, or critique every day. There is always one way or another to move my WIP (work in progress) forward. Sometimes it's by tinkering with my Scapple plotline, other times by sorting the chapters and creating a synopsis in my Scrivener project file. In between, I read authors I admire (Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje at the moment) to figure out how they create beautiful paragraphs. I also host a Writers' Group, (online at the moment), and update my two blogs, so that keeps me going every week. I have a deadline every Sunday at midnight by which time I must submit 3,000 words to my Scribophile group ready for a week of critiquing. And if I get stuck, there is always the Scribophile Forum to check. :)

Monday, 11 January 2021

Books written in the present tense.


I wrote my most recent book, a memoir, Atlantic Crossing in the present tense. This is not the most popular way to proceed. Most memoirs are written in the past tense. As in, "When I was a child, blah, blah, blah... and then I grew up to... blah, blah, blah." 

For example, Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen was written in the past tense. "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills," she begins. 

But my choice of the present tense worked by immersing the reader in the story. And so, I decided to write my next book, Love and Loss, also in the present tense. 

Today, browsing Amazon, I noticed several books by well known and successful authors were written in the present tense. Here they are: 

Michael Ondaatje used the present tense in his memoir, Running In The Family. "What began it all was the bright bone of a dream I could hardly hold onto." 

Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace is written in the present tense. "Out of the gravel, there are peonies growing." 

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert begins, "I wish Giovanni would kiss me." Present tense. 

Good to see.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

How much detail should you include in your descriptions?

While writing, you want to describe the setting, the characters and the action. But do you need to describe the inside of a bathroom? Probably not. Do you need to describe in detail the character brushing his teeth? Not likely. Everyone knows what the inside of a bathroom looks like and what brushing teeth is all about. But you might want to describe the character as he or she looks in the mirror. And even there, not every detail. Just enough to give the reader an idea of age, sex, level of attractiveness, and attitude of the character to themselves.

"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." - Anton Chekhov


"Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing." - Stephen King, On Writing

Only describe details if they're important to the story. Or in other words, your descriptions should be the length of a girl's skirt: long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020


"The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell."

John Updike

Think about this, the next time you are having difficulty writing. Someone out there will benefit from reading your book.