Do writers ever really take a holiday? I recently spend a week on Rhodes. It's a beautiful island with something for everyone whether they prefer the beach or mountains, wild forests or orderly olive groves and vineyards, ancient ruins or nightclubs. While I had a wonderful time, there was a part of my brain that never switched off. Whatever I saw or did, I wanted a better record of it than a photo. That's why I always carry a notebook with me on holiday. A snapshot can give you a flat visual reminder, but it won't give you the sounds or smells or what it felt like to be there. You don't need to be a travel writer to find a record of fleeting moments useful. They can provide inspiration for everything from poetry to settings and characters for a novel.
    Going away refreshes you in more ways than one. Not only do new experiences provide you with inspiration, but when you return you see everyday life differently. In fact, 'home' can seem quite strange for a few days, and this unfamiliarity can also provide new material–if you get a chance to write anything, that is.
    When I returned, I found umpteen emails waiting for me. Most of them could be discarded without opening, but there were offers for free reader copies of anthologies, submission opportunities, requests for writing services, news of shortlistings (yippee!) and more. One of the most welcome pieces of news was that Smashwords' Summer-Winter Sale is running throughout July again. There are hundreds of free and discounted titles to choose from, so you needn't be stuck for anything to read, whether you're sitting in the sun or bundled up by the fire. There's no way I want to be left out, so I'm offering Discord's Child free and Discord's Apprentice at 50% off. You'll find them both at
    Happy reading!