One of the toughest things about going abroad is leaving behind grandparents – or grandchildren. You worry about how you will keep this precious relationship alive and seek ways to survive the separation.

Peter Gosling has been a global grandpa for 16 years. He is also a much-published author and my dad! With my help and that of global parent, Anne Huscroft, he is writing a book on this subject designed to inspire, support , inform and help others with families divided by a plane flight.

If you are a global grandparent or grandchild or if you know some please ask them to complete the attached survey and send it to Peter. His details are on the questionnaire. Those completing the questionnaire will know that their experience will help others.

Please help us with this worthwhile project. Global Grandparenting will be published by Zodiac Publishing in 2008.

Click here for the Global Grandparenting questionnaire

It was high time I added this reading list to here, so here goes, my favourite books to inspire me as a writer are:

On Writing – Stephen King
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
The Treehouse – Naomi Wolf
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg
Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down – Christi Killien and Sheila Bender
Becoming a Writer – Dorothea Brande
A Writer’s Diary – Virginia Woolf
Eats Shoots and Leaves – Lynne Truss
Keeping Journal You Love – Sheila Bender

Whenever I suffer from a spot of block I buy another book – it always does the trick.

If you are on a mission to increase your cuttings folder then do not discount getting your articles published on websites. Tales From a Small Planet is a wholly professional website and edited by the author of The Expert Expatriate, Patricia Linderman.

Go to and look at what kind of material they have already, and then, if you can write about where you live get in touch with Patricia and suggest an idea for an article. This free, non-profit, website is designed for expatriates telling “what it’s really like to live there.” It includes literary and humorous essays from expats all over the world as well as “Real Post Reports” on hundreds of cities.

I’m battling with something I call procrastinationitis novellum. Sounds painful doesn’t it? Trouble is I usually put off the things I like least until last – like washing up the breakfast things, which I usually get around to while I’m cooking supper. Some things I hate so much I never do them all – like cleaning the car. So, why is it that I put off doing something I love too? Do you do that? I love writing. I love writing books. I love words, sentences, filling up a blank page. But knuckling down to writing my novel is beginning to beat me.

I read King’s book – see earlier blog – and that really helped. I am now managing one measly chapter a week. I want to do it so much. I love it when I’m there at the page. But somehow that washing up is more appealing at the moment.

Last night I went to a discussion between Edna O’Brien, Esther Freud and Rachel Cusk. It was held in a really funky place in Amsterdam, Felix Meritz on the Keizersgracht, in an upstairs room that was ironically lined with empty bookshelves. When asked about how they felt about writing, o’Brien said, ‘I hate it.’ She finds it torture, but she couldn’t ‘not’ do it. Cusk is riddled with self-doubt and agonises over every page. But one thing they all agree, is that that is what they do.

While I was out there, listening, I was not doing of course. Putting it off again. I could have spent the five hours it took me to get there and back at my iBook, writing my novel.

Or I could have been reading another wonderfully inspiring book about writing. As my friend Anne said on our long power walk this week, ‘I have read so many books about dieting so why have I not lost any weight? I should have by now!’ She was joking of course.

And me, I spend several months creating the perfect writing corner in my house – new chairs at just the right height, by a view of the sheep in the field opposite, new laptop (of course). But have I written there? Of course not. I am here in my office, sitting on a cheap Ikea chair, facing a wall of messy files. There is no window. And I’m writing this blog instead of writing my novel. I think I should rename my ‘writing corner’ my ‘not-writing corner’.

King created the perfect writing space too – wide polished wood desk in the white sea of a light and airy loft – and found the muse had scarpered. He is now back in a rickety desk under the eaves facing a blank wall. Because you see writers write. That is what they do. That is what I am doing now. Can’t resist it . . .in general . . . it’s just the novel that’s the problem – and of course it’s the thing I want to do most.

But, as I have now read all my emails and responded, had my breakfast, washed up and done the other stuff on my to-do list. I have run out of putting-it-off devices.

Deep breath, here goes

See you after chapter 5.



June 14, 2007

Take a look at this article on the pitfalls you can fall into when creating your dedication.

Don’t be rejected

June 14, 2007

Read this article about a woman whose book was rejected 36 times. It may give you hope.

Yes, Stephen King! His book on writing, called ‘On Writing’ is first class and got me back at my manuscript at the double. I’d call it a kick up the arse, but he’d spell it ‘ass’, but you get my gist.

By the way this is FIRST book of his I’ve ever read!

Read it.


I had the great pleasure of meeting Andrea and Jill, who run Expat Women at a conference in Houston. They are keen to tell expat women what other expat women are up to – so go and take a look for yourself. I have just joined their blog list and so should you.

Expat Women Blog Directory

Expat Women—Helping Women Living Overseas

When I found a website that offers a book reviewing service I was pretty excited. Irene Watson’s site, Readerviews, offers hundreds of reviews and lots of extra services for authors. You can read my ensuing review here. I was pretty pleased with it as I am sure you can understand.


If you are determined to drum up some interest in your book then I’m sure you have got blog already, haven’t you? Expat Writers should register their blogs at the great new site ExpatWomen, run by Andrea Martins and Jill Lengre. I met these whizzy women at the Families in Global Transition conference in March and boy, are they passionate about what they are doing.

Meet Andrea and Jill here, with me in the middle!:

I’ve added my blogs – now you need to add yours.