I recently entered a travel writing contest. The piece was about my favourite part of Turkey, the Lycian coast. It’s not hugely detailed as I was limited to 1,000 words but I managed to pack a lot in. The entry was adapted from my recent e-book Turkey, Surviving the Expats. The last time I entered a similar contest (featuring my best bits of Istanbul, also lifted from the same e-book), I failed to win any gold stars. Boo hoo. Guess what? I didn’t win this time either. Boo hoo too. Mind you, the reference to wet dreams probably didn’t help.
So, ladies and gents, I give you my Highlights of Lycia, the article that didn’t win a bean. Never mind, I like it anyway and I hope you do too.
I later found out that my article did, in fact, make it in to the top twenty and I won a prize – Worlds Apart by Smitha Murthy and Dorothee Lang. The book arrived today (8th October). Thank you!
I’ve held £300 in Premium Bonds for decades. I’ve had them so long, they’re probably worth half what I paid for them. It’s sod’s law: my numbers never come up. Then there’s the Lotto. I’ve never won so much as a tenner. To make matters worse, I’ve bought so many losing scratch cards over the years that I’m personally responsible for the felling of a small copse. Still, I’m happy to do my Good Samaritan bit for lost causes. It’s my civic duty. The Victorians endowed schools for paupers, I gamble. It’s the modern way. My one consolation is that I may have been unlucky in Lotto but I’ve been lucky in love.
Ever since we moved back to Blighty, I’ve entered every bleedin’ competition going, composing slogans to promote low-fat baked beans for the weight-watching generation who can’t be arsed to exercise, OMO whiteness for working scrubbers, breakfast bars for coffee-on-the-go bores and energy-saving vibrators for tight-fisted lonely hearts – whatever it takes to stave off a stint in the work house. One thing’s for sure. There’s no point selling my tired old carcass in the personals column of the local rag. These days, I can’t give it away.
Just a day to go in the travel writing competition by We Said Go Travel and I’m in second place (again). My nails are shot to pieces. If you’re on Facebook (and you haven’t already), please help me win by clicking here and ‘liking’ the picture of the fabulous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Thank you!
I entered a travel writing competition on ‘We Said Go Travel’ a while back then completely forgot about it. There’s a prize I think, but I’m not too sure what it is now. My memory isn’t what it once was. Anyway, the competition theme is ‘A Place You Love’ so I entered an article about Istanbul. I lifted it from Act Two of Turkey, Surviving the Expats – one of the eBooks I’ve been flogging to death recently. I doubt I’ll win the competition. My writing style is a bit too risqué for most mainstream travel sites where blandness tends to reign supreme. But, if you’d like to give my piece a chance (and you’re on Faceache), either click on the luscious image above or follow this link and ‘like’ the photo on Facebook. I thank you.
ISTANBUL, THE CITY THAT STRADDLES TWO CONTINENTS
No trip to Turkey is complete without tasting the wonders of Istanbul, entertainment, media, cultural and economic capital of Turkey with a population of 13.5 million (and counting). The political capital, Ankara, seems dull and provincial by comparison (think Canberra versus Sydney or Ottawa versus Montreal). Greek Byzantium, Roman and Ottoman Constantinople and Republican Istanbul, the city that straddles two continents is dirty, busy, loud, infuriating, sophisticated, exciting, chic and sublime.
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I’ve been asked to answer the question ‘What does writing LGBTQ literature mean to me?’ As a typically liberal fence-sitting Libran, the answer is both nothing and everything. An endorsement from my queer peers is of Oscar-winning significance; it lifts the spirits and brings an immediate rush. However, my sexuality is not the only thing that defines me (though, I suspect, it may be the biggest). I hope I’m more rounded and grounded than that. When I was young, reckless and idealistic, the stirrings in my loins did tend to get in the way. Had I been writing back then, I might well have been a one trick soft porn pony. Now I’ve matured in the oak and reached the vintage years, my pink-tinged ramblings have a broader brush. For me, it’s important that my writing touches, tickles or resonates, whoever the reader is. When I started this blogging lark, the fruity blend of ‘out-and-proud’ and ‘living in a foreign field’ was a successful recipe that brought unexpected recognition. This explains why the subsequent book is about a gay couple living in Turkey, not a book about being gay in Turkey (that depressing tome remains to be written). This may have disappointed some but I think delighted many more. In my view, this wider appeal does a great deal for the cause.
The one theme that has remained a constant preoccupation of mine is all things equalities. I do tend to bang that particular drum rather a lot. After all, it is the universal rainbow thread that unites us all. Equality has never been achieved by anyone asking nicely and saying please. It’s taken hand-to-hand combat with the hard of hearing. Let’s face it, the equalities marathon is hardly off the blocks in many parts of our shared global home, even in some so called first world countries. Rights won the tough way can be lost in an instant. Threats lurk at every corner and apathy is the greatest threat of all.
I’ve been thinking ahead to a third episode of my pansy brand (the second is already on the drawing board). Now I don’t actually do anything useful for a living, I might as well carry on scribbling, whether people tip me the wink or not. If nothing else, it fills my day and keeps me away from tranquilising doses of daytime TV. I might take a mince down the towpath to my probationary dalliances, in which case, volume three might be an under the counter affair, wrapped in a brown paper bag and served up with individual tissues. How does ‘Fifty Shades of Gay’ sound? Minus the cuffs and corsets, though. Slap and tickle have never really got my juices flowing.
I wrote this post to celebrate and support the launch of Rainbowbookreviews, a brand new and exciting LBGT book review website. To join in the fun I’m offering a free signed copy of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey to comments left on this post from UK callers. A Kindle edition or ePUB version of the book is on offer to international readers (please state your preference). Winners will be chosen at random and the competition will end on midnight on 1st September.