Posted in Reading, Travel, Writing

Travels With My Blog

Our camper van outside Linlithgow Palace, Scotland
Our camper van, precariously parked outside Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, last summer

As regular readers will know, one of the most frequent topics on this blog is travel, usually involving our family motorhome (posh name) / camper van (what we usually call it). But when I was giving my website a New Year makeover, it  occurred to me that there’s one sort of travel that I’ve neglected to mention here – and that’s virtual travel.

Have Blog, Will Travel

No, I haven’t devised a Star-Trek style teleporter – though I’d love one of those, if I could be confident that on arrival at my destination all my molecules would be reassembled in exactly the right place. What I’m talking about is guest blogging – where I’ve hopped across the ether to write a guest post on somebody else’s blog.

Just before Christmas, for example, I managed to appear both in the USA and Greece on the same day, thanks to two blogging friends, the US author Amira Makansi and writer/musician Jessica Bell, who is based in Athens, Greece, but comes from Australia, which pleasingly allows me to squeeze another continent into this conversation.

About Amira Makansi

Amira Makansi
Amira Makansi

I met Amira via the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), whose Self-Publishing Advice blog I edit. I was intrigued to learn that she had co-written her debut novel The Sowing with two other writers  – her mother and her sister. She kindly wrote about her experience on the ALLi blog, then invited me back to hers to be interviewed about my own book, Coming To Terms With Type 1 Diabetes. You can read my interview – and lots of interesting posts by Amira and other guest bloggers – on her blog here.

Introducing Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell
Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell is another ALLi friend, a live wire with endless creative talents: she writes brilliant novels, poems and music. Though based in Athens, she also runs an annual Writers’ Retreat in Ithaca, mythical home of Odysseus and Penelope. Not quite as mythical as, say, Atlantis – it does actually still exist, as I can personally testify – I went there quite a few times in my pre-motherhood sailing days. It’s hard to imagine anywhere more peaceful or beautiful to pamper your muse. This probably makes Jess just about the coolest person I know.

One of the many other plates that Jessica spins is her blog The Alliterative Allomorph (yes, I also had to look up Allomorph in the dictionary), and every Wednesday she invites a guest blogger to sound off about any writing-related topic of their choice. Just before Christmas, she hosted a festive-themed post by me,. I realise this does not have the same topical appeal in early January, but it was great fun to write, allowing me to segue from my own frivolous, hot-off-the-virtual-press Christmas ebook to what in my opinion is the greatest ever Christmas novel – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. There’s something about Jess’s blog that makes me want to talk about the greats, because last time I was on there, I talked about Tolstoy.

A Virtual Paper Chain

Helen Hollick
Helen Hollick

I also took part last month in a mass blogging event, known as a blog hop. This requires a number of bloggers to blog on the same theme, at the same time, and link to each other’s posts, leading readers on an ethereal tour. This one was held on 21st December, the shortest day (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), and took as its theme “Casting Light Upon the Darkness”. Historical novelist Helen Hollick kindly organised this mass blog, which meant coordinating 30 bloggers in different locations and time zones, and it was fascinating to see each author’s individual take on the subject. You can see Helen’s starting point here, but if you want to hop straight to my post, you’ll find it here.

So those were my December outings. In future, whenever I write guest posts or am interviewed on other people’s blogs, I’ll be adding links here so that you can read them in situ – and while you’re at it, you’ll gain an introduction to another great blog too!

By the way, I also regularly host or interview other author bloggers on my Off The Shelf Book Promotions website:  www.otsbp.com – but more about that another day. 

Follow That Blog!

If all that blog-hopping is making you dizzy, there are two simple ways that you can keep up with my online wanderings without having to remember to click on my blog every week:

  • sign up to receive each new post in your email inbox by clicking the “follow” button
  • subscribe to my new e-newsletter, which provides will give you a monthly round-up of my online activity within a single email, once a month

You’ll find instructions on how to do both of these things in the right hand column on the home page of my blog.

And finally… happy New Year, wherever you happen to be, online or in the real world!