Music & Dance on the Lagoon

Part one of four in the Music & Dance on the Lagoon story. They say it never rains but it pours. Using this adage, Music & Dance on the Lagoon was a veritable tempest. After the buzz of Nigerian Gems, I combined my new love of salsa with my passion for storytelling and wrote a … Continue reading Music & Dance on the Lagoon

To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

When I published Nigerian Gems, I used the pseudonym Jo Demmer. People often ask how I chose my pen name. Jo is my middle name, after my great-grandmother, Josephine. Demmer is my mother’s maiden name. The novel I was working on at the time, Sunrise Court, was rife with intrigue and infidelity and I didn’t … Continue reading To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

The Pros and Cons of Writing Memoir

What is the difference between memoir and autobiography? What is creative nonfiction? What are the advantages of writing memoir? These are just some of the questions tacked in The Pros and Cons of Writing Memoir.

Karen Quist, From Beauty Therapist to Copywriter/Photographer

Today, I continue my series of interviews with people I admire—individuals who by changing career path or country, have their own winding narrative. Karen Quist transitioned from beauty therapist to copywriter/photographer and has now runs Lens and Pens Group, a successful web content company. Her enthusiasm and vitality come across as clearly on the page as … Continue reading Karen Quist, From Beauty Therapist to Copywriter/Photographer

Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last

To pick up from where I left off in Tales from Lagos, the publication of Nigerian Gems had stalled. Graphic designer Els Van Limberghen volunteered to do the layout and design; we printed a copy on our home computer and painstakingly glued it together to create a mock up; Judy Anderson, Sara Dobbs and Martha Peterson … Continue reading Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last

My Top Four Editing Tips

Editing is both an art form and a numbers game. Writers are constrained by word count, so every phrase must be sharpened and polished like a jewel. My first editing job was Nigerian Gems. Since then, I’ve spent hours revising my own work, been mentored by Michele Rubin, head of Cornerstones US and had the opportunity … Continue reading My Top Four Editing Tips

Tales from Lagos

The concept for Nigerian Gems, Expatriate Tales of Adventure was simple—to create a snapshot of our Lagos experience through stories, snippets and photos. Many expats had already written emails or blogs about quirky moments, outrageous anecdotes or insightful observations. We wanted to collate these diverse voices to share a range of experiences with friends and family … Continue reading Tales from Lagos

Ishahayi Beach School Foundation

The problem with writing a book to raise funds for a school building is not only do you have to write, edit, publish and market the book, you have to actually build the school. The entire scheme was completely nuts. But it worked. The key to our success—our secret weapon—was community. We arrived in Nigeria … Continue reading Ishahayi Beach School Foundation

Sunrise Court

Our decision to move to Nigeria (back in 2004) felt like stepping off a cliff. We wrote a pros and cons list and mulled it over ad nauseam. Many of our Melbourne friends and family were aghast, especially as Brutus and Maximus were only five and three years old. By contrast, my boss at the … Continue reading Sunrise Court

The Writer’s Hour

I have a whole hour before I have to pick up Son Two from school, so I set myself a bite-sized task. It’s a small, niggling job I’ve been avoiding—to choose monikers for my husband and children to protect their privacy on The Winding Narrative.