a writer’s retreat in Italy and writing tips

Here’s a number one tip for writers: turn off your internet connection while writing! How many times, on a gloomy Sunday afternoon like today, do I stray from my writing (or rewriting) and end up watching a film, an interview, or a rerun of The Dick Van Dyke Show on Youtube. Ten minutes ago I was watching Glenn Ford in The Americano. And it happens ever so insidiously. You’re writing away and then you switch from your Word document to Google to look up a word in an online dictionary.

In my case, I wanted to know the difference between sneaked and snuck. Could I use the word snuck? It sounded archaic to me, but on the other hand, being North American, it’s a word that I would use in conversation. (They wouldn’t say snuck in Britain.)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, I can use snuck.

Over the past 120-odd years snuck has become by some estimations the more common past tense form in the US. Some people object to the sneaky upstart – especially speakers of British English – but it appears regularly and without commentary in respected publications on both sides of the pond.

Perhaps the most mysterious part of the story of snuck is the question of where it came from. It’s as if snuck just sidled on in and made itself at home in the language, and most of us took it for a native. Pretty sneaky.

And then somehow after that, as I mentioned, I found myself watching The Americano on Youtube. I had to tear myself away from Glenn Ford’s blue eyes and back to my manuscript. (I have a small crush on Glenn Ford.)

Below is the writing retreat I’ll be attending in September 2017. I’ve already paid my deposit. I discovered Puglia, Italy in 2014 and LOVED IT, so naturally I’m excited about returning to the region in September. Ardella Jones, one of the program directors of the London-based Chalk The Sun that is organizing the retreat, is my editor. For those who don’t know, Puglia is the region located in the heel of Italy.

If you’re interested, there are still openings for this retreat.




And lastly, here’s a link to a web-page entitled –


It’s brilliant.


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