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Showing posts from 2011

Happy Ho Ho!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest and Healthiest of New Years!  I'm busily making snow angels in my mom's front yard but will be back in 2012 to share more of my writing and publishing odyssey experiences with you!

See you next year!
Anne






Virtual Book Tour Launches to Amazing Reviews

We launched the tour today on Arabian Tales and Other Amazing Adventures and I Was an Expat Wife. Thank you Katie and Maria for a couple of incredible reviews (that quite honestly left me blushing).  I had a great chat with Maria too and invite you to have a read.

Katie's blog also appears on The Boomer Chronicles today as part of their Blogging Boomers Carnival series! Very exciting!

See you tomorrow when I visit Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing and Lynda Martinez at Longhorns and Camels.  We'll also launch our 'Funniest Dubai Stories' contest on The CAT (Cultural Arts & Travel Dubai).  Don't miss that! 

And don't forget...if you can post and tweet the following message that would be great!

"@Home in Dubai launches today! Full of advice for #expats moving to Dubai. Get it on Amazon http://amzn.to/vZJKYW #dubaiconnection"


The Virtual Book Tour Schedule - Connecting @Home in Dubai to the Blogosphere

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I’m excited to share the plans for the Virtual Book Tour for @Home in Dubai…Getting Connected Online and on the Ground, which is taking shape quite nicely. The tour will run from Dec. 12-17 and feature some of my favourite bloggers (and stars of the expat and Dubai blogger world). There are more in the works but as of today I’m thrilled to announce the following blogs that I’ll be visiting on the tour:
Dec. 12 – Launch Day is going to be a very exciting and busy day!  We kick off with a review on Katie Foster’s, Arabian Tales and Other Amazing Adventuresas well as an interview/book review with Maria Foley (fellow Canadian and intercultural communications expert) at I Was an Expat Wife.I’ll also be sharing some quick tips on writing and publishing a book and setting up your online platform that will air on Jo Parfitt's Writers Abroad radio show.
Dec. 13 – I’ll be dropping by The Cat for a guest blog and will announce the rules for a fun contest that blogger Jan D’Sa an…

Book Review - Dubai Wives by Zvezdana Rashkovich

I don’t typically review fiction but there are so many kernals of truth in Zvezdana’s book, Dubai Wives: A Novel and many instances where I was nodding my head, recognizing similar situations I had experienced (or read or heard about) while living in Dubai, that I thought it would be appropriate! 
Dubai Wives is realistic, yet fictional, journey into the lives of eight women, all from different backgrounds and walks of life, but all living in the very cosmopolitan city of Dubai. Their experiences are fraught with the unique conundrums of living in an exciting, contemporary city with an undercurrent of Muslim values and Islamic law.
It’s full of mystery and intrigue, high emotion and colourful characters whose personalities both clash and meld all at once. Zvezdana cleverly describes the wildest contrasts that bring the reader skilfully into the private lives of each woman…. like the demur outer trappings of the Emirati heroine, Jewel, to the inner sanctity of her bedroom. Steamy stuff…

Planning my Virtual Book/Blog Tour

So, it’s finally here!  My publisher (Summertime Publishing) and I have chosen a launch date for my book, @Home in Dubai… Getting Connected Online and on the Ground.  We’re fleshing out the marketing plan, which includes (drumroll, please) a Virtual Book and Blog Tour!  It’s all very exciting as I enter this realm with wide-eyed, newbie wonder. I’m lucky to be following in Jo Parfitt’s very successful footsteps (she is my publisher and a prolific author as well). She just completed a successful blog tour for her first work of fiction, Sunshine Soup - nourishing the global soul,which I watched in admiration and took lots of notes.

Learning and Sharing I’m learning so many amazing new things in this process.  What blows me away is how helpful other authors are who have gone before and how willing they are to share their experiences to give you a hand up.  Jo’s expertise is invaluable and I’ve been following others as well. I happened on a great teleseminar on setting up a virtual book tou…

Writing Between Genres

I’ve been reading a lot lately about transitioning from one genre of writing to another.  Seems that there are those out there who feel like it’s either or.  What if, in the middle of a transition, you find that halfway through is a great place to be?  I’ve found a very happy place part way between corporate copy writing and book writing (both fiction and non-fiction). The latter is a very new development for me (my first book is coming out in December) and I’ve found the process very stimulating.
I was preparing for a blog interview with my publisher (who wrote a great blog recently about Crossing Genres) and she asked if the process of writing a book had helped with my business. Well, since my ‘business’ is copy writing my answer was a resounding YES! It’s okay to have a niche, or an area of expertise but I am finding that breaking out of that mould every once in a while energises the creative juices and injects a whole new perspective into your writing when you switch back.  Even wh…

Moving to a new country? Get to know the dangers… big and small!

I’m happy to say that we are getting nicely settled into our lives in Thailand.We miss our friends in Dubai but it’s on to another adventure, right?I’m still happily writing away – copy writing for clients, getting ready to launch my first book, @Home in Dubai… Getting Connected Online and on the Ground, AND participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time (yes, I’m a little crazy but happy – I’m writing! And that’s what counts).
So, back to the topic of this post… we had visited Thailand several times while we were living in Dubai and fell in love with it on the first landing.It was decided early on that it would be where Doug would like to retire.Our comfort level with the place was truly at a 10 out of 10. Any of the small irritants of settling into a new place were easily overcome because of the huge number of positives – like the food, the amazing people, the gorgeous beach, lush greenery, cheap cost of living and so on.BUT, I forgot to also pay attention to the possible dangers of l…

Book Review - A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffet

I’ve just finished reading Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks at Fiftyand I want to read it all over again!  I don’t say that about too many books but this one had me grinning, nodding and laughing out loud from the first page.  I’ve always been a Jimmy Buffet fan and have listened to his music for hours on end on many a sailing trip and while sipping Margaritas in so many Tiki bars throughout the Caribbean, I’ve lost count.  After reading this book (he has others but this is the first one I’ve read), his Joie de Vivre is palpable.  It’s no wonder he writes such wonderful music.  He’s had a life full of crazy adventure and experiences that are hard to believe (some of them aren’t so hard to believe for me as many of his stories of flying into remote island airports and dropping anchor in beautiful bays brought back some great memories of our travels).
Story Telling Wrapped in Good Advice
If you like to get lost in stories of adventure, with colorful characters, this is the book for you.  Buf…

Social Media - Harmful or Helpful?

I often blog about social media - the business applications, the triumphs, the evils and the pure fun of it.  I came across this gem today on Social Times, "Has Facebook Become Beneficial or Harmful to Students," which had a really interesting graphic that they invited everyone to share on their websites.  So...have a look at this!


Created by: Online PhD

Thanks to Social Times for encouraging us to share this infographic.  How do you feel about this?  When used with some thoughtful consideration and respect, any form of communication is positive.  Social Media is just the newest tool in the box...and it removes so many barriers.  When the printing press was invented in the mid 1400s it allowed the first printing of the bible, which meant that even the 'common man' would be able to read and interpret it.  It sparked many religious revolutions but with more people (rich and poor) having access to books and learning to read, it built the bridge to cross over from the Mi…

iPhone Apps for Expats, World Travellers and Writers

As much as I was fighting back and as much as I loved my little Samsung flip phone (it was smart enough for me)… it finally died.  After a brief grieving process, my husband returned from a trip to LA with a new iPhone 4 for me .  After I stopped sulking that I’d been “forced” into the Apple tribe (I recently blogged about the Steep Learning Curve of switching from a Toshiba laptop to a MacBook Pro), I started exploring the wonders of this device that was foisted upon me.
Finding Your Way I admit, I am getting a little smitten with it but not addicted just yet.  However, my first favorite thing about this new little genius that I carry around in my purse is some of the cool apps that do truly help you get through the day.  Enter the Google Maps application.  Holy cow!  It actually shows exactly where in the entire world I’m standing at that very moment.  I can zoom in for detail or zoom out for orientation (to establish the direction I need to head in order to get where I want to go).  …

Phuket Vegetarian Festival Celebrates 185th Anniversary

Every year, during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the streets of Phuket ring with the sound of loud drumming as mah song are possessed by Chinese Gods and Godesses. Rituals that cleanse and heal take place simultaneously.
As I watched one of the Chinese Goddesses, Ama Hua San Neo Neo, enter the body of Aea, a 14-year-old girl who is the daughter of my friend Thanya, she started writhing and shaking, her eyes rolling back into her head.  Aea is a Shaman or medium, chosen for her purity by the Goddess to be a vessel for messages and guidance, especially during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. 

I joined the other devotees dressed in white from head to toe, and gave praise to each of the Chinese Gods and Goddesses, handing over my burning incense in homage.  Participating in the rituals brings good fortune, good health, brightness and inner peace.  During the celebrations we even burned gold leaf as an offering and in return will have ‘beng ang’ (good luck) and be rewarded w…

Learning Curve Gets Steeper

I am working through the pain of typing this update sort of as a punishment for not blogging more regularly.The pain is from an inflammation in my wrist that has developed as I switched from my Toshiba (PC) laptop to my new MacBook Pro (which my converted friends insist I will love once I get used to it).The learning curve is very steep simply because I’m being obstinate.Since I write for a living I wanted (needed) to adapt very quickly to my new technology so took a few shortcuts… one of which included loading my Palm Software onto my Apple laptop so I could quickly access my contacts… rather than actually learning the new address book software from Mac and doing a proper conversion. Now my Palm contacts won’t convert (the Palm software keeps quitting ‘unexpectedly’ after only converting four of my 1,800 contacts) and in the process of ‘clicking around’ to find the solution I inadvertently duplicated them so now there are over 3,000!The repetitive action of clicking that many contact…

Old Habits Die Hard

O.K…I promised I would keep you posted on the progress of publishing my first book.  I’m happy to say that we’re in the final edits of @Home in Dubai…Getting Connected Online and on the Ground (I hope).  Thing is… even though I’ve been writing all my life, this is a whole new realm for me and getting used to a particular publisher’s ‘style guide’ takes a little time and effort.  It’s significantly different than writing Associated Press (or Canadian Press) style for journalists or PR releases, or if you’re a business writer, whatever style you follow. 
More than just British versus US Spellings
I grew up in Canada and then lived in the US for 14 years and now, working as a freelancer for an international clientele, I’m used to switching back and forth from British to US English (depending on client preference and target audience).  But, it goes much deeper than that.  See the ellipsis I used above?  I was always used to no space after the…but, my publisher’s style guide specifies a spa…

Book Review – Corporate Embers and Become in the Corporate World by Debbie Nicol

I’m excited to do this particular book review because it highlights the hard work and passion of a good friend of mine, Debbie Nicol, also known as ‘The Enablist’.I’ve watched over the last several months (and put my two cents worth in every now and then) as she poured over this labour of love.
As business books go, this one’s in its own category, since it’s the product of a new way of thinking about leadership.Debbie’s teachings bring her clients (and now readers) through a process where leaders: Reflect, Connect, Collaborate, Innovate and Become.
Corporate Embers is the ‘reflection’ part of the book duo and Become in the Corporate World is the ‘connection’ part, which is actually a workbook that guides you through the steps to finding your own leadership style.If it does its job, and you are honestly interested in digging deep into your leadership soul, it can be very thought provoking and quite practical too.
Debbie created the ‘embers of the world’ concept itself as an illustration o…

Book Review: Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne

I picked this book up at a fabulous bookstore in Dubai called Kinokuniya.  I only bring this up because it’s almost a destination in and of itself (not to mention it’s located in the biggest mall in the world). I was just perusing the shelves actually looking for a reference book on search engine optimization (SEO) and I can never help myself…I wound up in the travel section.  That’s where I spied Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne.  It grabbed my attention, not just because the cover was a fabulous cartoon depiction of the crazy streets of Bangkok, but because my husband and I have been recently putting a plan together to retire to Thailand.  Great timing to read something like this.  Even though we’re targeting Phuket I envision weekend jaunts into “the city.”
Anyway, on to the book review.  I have to caution you, this is not a book for someone with delicate sensibilities.  Of course, neither is Bangkok.  Osborne takes us on a raucous romp through the seedier back streets of the city w…

Is Content King or Court Jester?

Since Google changed its search algorithm a little while ago everyone is scrambling to regain the position that may have been lost in the rankings.  Many really high page rankings were falsely awarded based on questionable strategies like key word stuffing.  The content was garbage (certainly not king) and rose to the top because of the bells jingling on the jester hat it was wearing.  When you got past the singing and dancing, there was no depth.
I’m glad this has happened for one basic reason…there’s too much jester and not enough king out there and I’m tired of trying to sift through it to find the quality content.  Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s gospel. 
As a professional writer, I could certainly crank out 10, 200-word “articles” in one day (and get peanuts for it, of course) but I prefer to take my time, do some original research, talk to some experts and produce a quality piece of writing of which I can be proud.  I knew that common sense and rational though…

Finding your Writing Rhythm

I always knew I had a penchant for writing but had no idea what life as a freelance writer would look like when I decided to journey down that path.I could always find my way around a paragraph or ‘turn of phrase’ but it had always been for someone else while I was collecting a monthly paycheck for doing it.Writing always took up a huge chunk of time throughout my PR career, whether it was press releases and company profiles, letters and memos, scripts or speeches.All I know is that I was never so happy as when I had a writing project that would keep me at my desk, crafting the best messages and using the most impactful words I could find to reach our audience.
For three years now I have been freelance copy writing for a variety of companies and industries and have been thoroughly enjoying it.I have also interspersed writing with conducting writing workshops and communications training.I will continue to do so as my expat journey continues, as it’s the most portable career around.But I…

Author Interview: Bitten by Spain by Debbie Fletcher

I have several books on the go right now but none that I'm ready (or willing) to review at this point.  So, in place of this month's book review I'd like to invite you to listen to a great interview that Jo Parfitt recently did with Bitten by Spain author Debbie Fletcher on The WIN (Women's Information Network)

It definitely made me want to add it to my summer reading list! 

Enjoy the interview!  And...Happy Canada Day!

LinkedIn Etiquette: Is there such a thing?

Miss Manners would be rolling in her grave…or, is she still alive?
I have been enjoying the power of LinkedIn and recognize the value of being able to pre-qualify leads and target exactly the right company and person to pitch to.It’s also a gold mine of great advice and opportunities to brainstorm with other experts in your field.I belong to a few groups that are stellar (like Freelance Web Writers run by Paul Lalley).Bottom line…I use LinkedIn, I enjoy it and it’s been a real incredible marketing and professional development tool for me.
Developing Contacts But, it has its irritants.For me, it’s people who don’t seem to know how to use it properly or at least don’t use common sense and good manners.Maybe I approach it too old school and need to get with the program but I still feel that there should be some commonly accepted ground rules.
What do you think is the best way to develop new connections on LinkedIn?Some people troll the 2nd, 3rd and 4th contacts of their contacts and blindly …

Book Review - Expat Women: Confessions – 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions About Living Abroad

Finally a way to let it all out among friends!  I have to admit, I found the title, Expat Women:  Confessions a little misleading.  The term “confessions” leads one to believe that there’s something scintillating or juicy “a la Desperate Housewives” but if you’re expecting wife-swapping and shop-a-holic stories you’ll be disappointed.  However, what you will find is page after page of sage advice from two women, Andrea Martin and Victoria Hepworth, who have “been there, done that” for years.  Each chapter highlights a question from a woman in the thick of all things expat, followed by an answer that is thoughtful, insightful and thorough that includes great tips and helpful suggestions.  The authors have backgrounds in HR and psychology and have both lived around the world.  They come to the table with an in-depth understanding of human nature and a boatload of empathy built from personal experience.
In the introduction, expat author Robin Pascoe says, “remaining silent about your conc…