Turn on the light!

I am thrilled to have a story published in Offshoots 15, an anthology of writing from Geneva. It’s my first piece to be published by the Geneva Writers Group, a wonderful group I’ve been involved with for the past several years. From my former home across the border in France, it was eye-opening to be able to join this international group’s events and workshops, all of which have been inspirational and instructive. Now I will be among its many members who travel from across Switzerland and beyond to live events — always assuming we will soon see an end to the pandemic. (I’m a believer!)

I don’t often write about writing beyond what I produce on this blog. But, une fois n’est pas coutume — ‘just this once’ for the Francophiles — let me tell you a few things about the writing I do for work and play.

Writing for me is less about what I do than who I am. Meaning I cannot remember a time when it wasn’t central to my existence. Diaries, journals, lyrics, the odd poem or bit of creative scribbling took me through my early years to higher learning and the inevitable choice of what to do next. Unsurprisingly, I decided to make a living as a writer. Not the romantic life of the novelist but the reality of the paid hack.

I started out in Toronto in PR, writing video scripts for the Ministry of the Environment on the burning topics of the day such as acid rain, air pollution and toxic waste. Then I moved on to advertising as a copywriter, selling anything and everything from fashion to bricks and mortar. In between regular jobs I freelanced and also managed to place a few feature stories in newspapers and magazines. By the time we moved to France I was a seasoned hired gun, willing to turn my prose to whatever paid the bills. While raising kids I worked freelance, translating and also copywriting for clients with international markets. I even spent a couple of years on a team of translator-journalists at Euronews. At one point I transitioned to the corporate world and eventually got into pharma communications. This led to our move to the Geneva area some years ago. I now work as a freelance writer for several different clients who manage to keep me happily busy on a range of topics while leaving me a little time to pursue my own writing projects.

When my kids were still small I began dabbling in writing for myself again. Nothing too ambitious: stories, essays, a memoir. My current work-in-progress is a novel. Nothing of note has been published yet, aside from the odd story. I’ve decided not to go the self-publishing route and traditional publishing is notoriously tough.

And now this: Offshoots 15 has selected my story, ‘Late’, a flash fiction piece that came to me one winter day while waiting and worrying, as is my wont. For those not familiar with the genre, flash is very short so I won’t say more.

I must say it’s an honour to be in the company of the amazing writers in this collection of prose and poetry. The editorial team chose the theme ‘Turn on the light’ to offer some relief in a year of upheaval. It’s a good read if you like snippets of life seen from the lighter side. What’s more, after so long in confinement this little book offers the treat of glimpses into life in faraway places.

Offshoots 15 is available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon. I’ve already ordered several copies for family and friends.

What about you? I know that some of this blog’s followers are professionals and published writers. Don’t be shy: I’d love to hear about your latest work!

35 comments

  1. phildange · December 3

    So when you’re a big girl you wanna be a writer ? Bravo, it’s my favourite profession . Don’t give up, ever .

    • MELewis · December 3

      Thank you, Phil. Encouragement is much needed and always appreciated.♥️

  2. margaret21 · December 3

    This is a great post. Lovely to have some personal success stories and feel-good moments among the gloom. I ‘ll see if I can source a copy of this anthology, because it does look interesting. But I’m an Amazon-refuser and in any case don’t much like e-reading, so it might get complicated. A treat in store! And well done for this success.

    • MELewis · December 4

      Thanks Margaret! I can relate to the paper problem: I don’t really only like to delve into stories online either. Apparently there is one English bookshop in Lausanne that stocks it and may be willing to ship. If you’re interested: https://booksbooksbooks.ch/

      • margaret21 · December 4

        Thanks – I really must move this problem up my To Do list!

  3. francetaste · December 3

    Congratulations! That’s fantastic! And I can’t wait to read your novel.

    • MELewis · December 4

      Merci! Will share details when the time comes. Looking forward to hearing about your own project!

      • francetaste · December 4

        My life is very similar to what you did previously. Many projects being juggled, mostly somewhat technical. Very lucky to be able to work globally from the middle of nowhere. A novel in the works as well–what writer doesn’t have one–but progress happens mostly in my head rather than with my fingers on the keyboard.

  4. George Lewis · December 3

    Congratulations, hope to read it soon, Dad

    • MELewis · December 4

      Thanks, Dad! Hopefully before too long.

  5. acflory · December 3

    Congratulations, Mel! I hope the next piece of big news is that you’ve been accepted by a publisher. If, by chance, you decide to self publish after all, I’m happy to help with the ‘how-to’ info. Whatever you do though, keep writing!

    • MELewis · December 4

      Thanks, Meeks! I know how diligently you have worked to get where you are as a successful self-published writer — well deserved!

      • acflory · December 4

        lol – diligent yes, successful? No, but the journey has been exciting, and it’s not over yet. 😀

      • MELewis · December 6

        Long may the journey continue! I say ‘diligently’ with great respect as I’ve read some of your posts about self-publishing and realize how much work it is. Not sure I’d be willing/able to channel that much energy into the business side of writing. As for ‘successful’ I’d say that depends on how you judge success but based on some of the positive reviews you’ve shared, plus the sheer volume of what you’ve produced — I’d say you more than qualify! 🙌

      • acflory · December 6

        I thank you most sincerely, but it never seems to be enough. As for the business side of things, you already have one of the most important elements – an online presence. People come to your blog, myself included, because we really enjoy your perspective on life, and the style in which you write about it. That is huge. 🙂

      • MELewis · December 7

        Your words are huge to me, Meeka! Thanks so much for continuing to add your unique perspective. I truly value our ‘blog-ship’. ♥️

      • acflory · December 7

        lol – me too! -hugs-

  6. weird weekends · December 4

    Congrats!!! I am not a “writer”… and far from being one (good one in any case). I do know that I have enjoyed your writings here… I should have known you were a professional.

    • MELewis · December 4

      Aw, thanks! Pretty sure there’s a writer in those stories of yours, many of which have made me smile!

  7. Dale · December 4

    How wonderful is this! Good for you.

    • MELewis · December 4

      Cheers, Dale! Small steps but it makes a huge difference in motivation.

      • Dale · December 4

        I bet!

  8. Becky Ross Michael · December 4

    Yippee! Congratulations on your recent publication!

    • MELewis · December 4

      Thank you Becky! Nice to have good news to share. 😊

  9. Susanne · December 4

    Big congratulations, MEL on the published flash fiction story, MEL! I did not know all of your writing background and am a wee bit in awe that you managed a career as a writer for hire. That says a lot about both your skill and determination. Onward!

    • MELewis · December 6

      Thanks, Suzanne! Blushing right now because given some of the drivel I’ve been paid to produce….well, let’s say determination and skill play a part but they’re far from the only secrets to the working scribe’s success. 😌

  10. Elyse Brady · December 6

    Hi MEL! So happy to hear of your publishing success. Your lifelong pursuit is really impressive. I can still see all those books piled up in your bedroom (and ashtray under the bed 😁). Your destiny was evident then. Congratulations my dear friend!!! Big Hugs. Love you. Elyse

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • MELewis · December 7

      Aha, that ashtray is a relic from the distant past! How lovely that someone remembers me when I was still young enough to smoke. Our destinies crossed and separated many moons ago but our hearts are still those of the girls in that canoe! Big love right back at you dear Elyse! 🤩

  11. Colin Bisset · December 9

    Congrats! There’s nothing quite like seeing your prose in print. And odd, isn’t it, when you have seen your writing in so many different forms over the years, that when your own work, the stuff that spills from the heart, there’s an entirely different feeling. Something special went out into the world! I think you’re wise to avoid self-publishing (I made that mistake) and hope for the traditional ways… And i’m sure this feels like validation of a sort about actually living in Switzerland! Bodes well…

  12. Alex Diaz-Granados · December 10

    Although I have dabbled in several “branches” of writing, including online reviewing, prose fiction, and – of course – blogging, I am presently a screenwriter. Not a famous one, and definitely not a well-paid one, but at least one with four writing and co-writing credits that have actually been produced. Here is the link to my favorite one: https://youtu.be/iZ2CFkB7j-s

    • MELewis · December 14

      Good for you! I’ve often thought about pursuing this form of writing as it’s what I originally studied at university. Also took an amazing course on screenwriting with John Truby. It is definitely an art form of its own.

  13. Kiki · December 15

    oh I see I haven’t commented as I meant to – it was most likely because I needed a bit of time to not just speak any kind of rubbish!
    It’s absolutely wonderful that your writing is getting recognised and that you’re being published. Heartfelt congratulations – I may have thought it wasn’t worth my grain of wisdom as I don’t have a blog…. But congrats are ALWAYS on, aren’t they – even if I have nothing to offer in return. All I can claim as my fame is that my photos get very recognised and that I’m one of the few non bloggers who actually DO comment on my chosen few. Mel, I’m wishing you the very best on your budding writer’s career. Lots of love

    • MELewis · December 16

      Comments and encouragement are always appreciated, Kiki, and no time limit! Thanks so much! x

  14. nessafrance · December 25

    Congrats and good luck with your novel. I recall you had a story published in one of our Writers Abroad anthologies. Sadly, Writers Abroad is no more, having just closed its doors, but I’m lucky to belong to a very active local writing group. Writing keeps me sane in this mad world.

    • MELewis · December 26

      You are right about the story. I can’t remember how it came about exactly but it may be how I discovered your blog. Sorry to hear the Writers Abroad project has ended but glad you have to the writers group to keep you going. I know just how you feel about writing to stay sane; it is a worthy endeavour if only for that!

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