Mallorca contribution to new ‘Kaleidoscope’ anthology by Writers Abroad

When we came to live on Mallorca I had grand plans to write a novel . . . after I’d written about the experience of moving to a rural finca on the island and all the challenges that it entailed. We had the first eight months without electricity, which meant I couldn’t plug in a computer. And anyone who has seen my handwriting will know that using paper and pen would not have been a workable option. Not if anyone (or even I) intended to read it later.

I soon discovered that better and more experienced writers had already written about moving to Mallorca and living in a finca. Perhaps the novel? I’ve probably written a quarter of it, but that was some time ago now; I do intend to get back to it soon. And, yes, it’s set on Mallorca.

Most of my writing work is factual, rather than fiction, but I have had short stories chosen for inclusion in three anthologies published by a group called Writers Abroad (of which, incidentally, I’m not a member).

A hat trick on the story front

The latest of these anthologies, entitled ‘Kaleidoscope’ is published today, October 12th. Even though I’ve probably had a few hundred articles published now, I’ve had little success with short stories – so I’m pretty excited to have had my third one published. Especially as I spent quite some time trying to find inspiration for the ‘light-themed’ story – and almost gave up the idea of submitting anything.

They do say that you should write about what you know and, thus, the seed of a story idea sprouted. ‘Seeing the light’ (published under the name of Janice Dunn) is a complete work of fiction – but prompted by the occasion when lightning knocked out the invertor of our solar-powered electricity system.

News Release From Writers Abroad‏



An Anthology of Stories and Poetry from Expat Writers Around the World

‘Kaleidoscope’ Available for Purchase

All proceeds from sales will be donated to the charity Room to Read.

Online, ex-pat writing community Writers Abroad are proud to announce the publication today Monday 12th October of their fifth anthology, Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope is a dazzling collection of flash fiction, short stories and poetry, written by expats (or former expats) around the world on the theme of light, as 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

The stories and poems selected for Kaleidoscope evoke many varied interpretations of light: from a force that dispels evil or illuminates to one that can be destructive, from sunlight to firelight, or from the glow of an Arctic summer night to the brilliance of a Mediterranean afternoon.

This anthology is dedicated to two writers and members of Writers Abroad, Mary Davies and Jäny Graf, who both died in June 2015 during the planning of Kaleidoscope. Two pieces written by them are published in the anthology.

Author and former Writers Abroad member Chris Allen, who lives in Germany, has written the foreword. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Chris Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.

Kaleidoscope is available from Lulu and Amazon at a price of $8.50, £5.99 or €7.50.

Come and join us at our Facebook Launch today between 10am and 6pm and enter one of the free competitions. You could win an e-copy of a previous Writers Abroad Anthology.


Hi-diddle-dee-dee, a writer’s life for me

When we moved from the UK to live in rural Mallorca, my intention was to become a freelance writer, working from home. Our finca seemed like the perfect environment for inspiration, creativity, and other writerly stuff.

What’s now our third bedroom (and winter storage area for garden furniture), in an annexe adjoning the main house, was originally destined to be The Writing Space. It offered lots of benefits, with its own shower room and loo, door opening onto a small covered terrace, and lovely views of the far side of our valley.

Our old pine desk was moved into the room immediately – along with everything else that didn’t seem to have a place in our home at the time. We’d already had plenty of electrical plug sockets installed, awaiting that day when electricity was connected, and we’d be able to plug in computer, printer, scanner, etc.

But it soon became clear that this was not a room in which to spend much time in the winter: mould began to grow on the legs of the desk and we realised that the dampness of this small unheated, uninsulated room would be equally as bad for a computer and other sensitive stuff, such as electrical goods . . . and me!

Not driven to distraction

The small room at the centre of the house – grandly dubbed ‘the library’ – became my writing space. With five sets of doors leading off this room, the wall space for furniture is limited and, by necessity, the desk (no longer sporting its fetching furry green coating), was positioned facing a wall. It’s probably just as well: the combination of lovely views, cats doing amusing things, and the birdlife in our garden, would surely be a distraction. . . .

With my focus firmly on the computer, I’ve written countless articles and reviews that have been published in magazines, newspapers, and on websites. But my fiction-writing success has so far been restricted to just two short stories I wrote under the name of Janice Dunn. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have these accepted for anthologies published by Writers Abroad – more than making up for the rejection slips from the declining women’s magazine short story market . . .

Download your copy Foreign Encounters book cover

The latest of these anthologies – Foreign Encounters – was originally available in conventional book form but is now also available for download.

And here’s part of the opening of my story ‘Embracing the New’ – which is entirely fictional:

‘I had more than enough sand in my private parts yesterday, thank you. But don’t let me stop you going.’

‘Mum!’ I put down my mug of coffee and reached across the terrace table to place my hand gently on her sunburnt arm. ‘I thought you’d enjoyed yourself.’

My widowed mum had come for a three-week stay with us on the Spanish island of Mallorca – which had been our home for just two weeks, and was still new and strange to us. We were expats due to a change of employment, rather than pure choice.  

Until we could find ourselves a new home, we were renting a beautiful villa in the north of the island. Casa Rosa’s owners were friends of Martin’s new boss and had been looking for someone to house-sit during the two months they were visiting family in New Zealand. We were thrilled to move in and find ourselves living in unexpected luxury, with a few weeks to enjoy before Martin started work. So we invited Mum over for a family holiday. She’d never been abroad before but we were sure that a few weeks here with us, away from the cool damp British summer, would do her good. Four days into her visit, I was beginning to wonder . . .

If you want to know what happened next – or read a host of stories, articles, and poems written by expat writers with far more talent than I have – you can download your copy of Foreign Encounters from Amazon:

If you’re in another country, simply substitute the appropriate letters for that country for the, but include the reference at the end, which takes you straight to the relevant page. The price has been set in each country based on the list price of $2.99.

Happy reading!

The Courier Man Always Rings Once . . .

Short stories, articles, and recipes, by expat authors around the world. ISBN 5 800062 294851

Living in a tranquil valley that’s at the end of a long camí – the local name for a lane – seems to make our address something of a no-go area for courier services.

Since we’ve lived here, we’ve probably had experience of them all – local, national and international companies – and, almost every time, we’ve had a phone call from the delivery driver saying that they can’t come out to the finca. Could we go into Manacor to meet them somewhere?

There’s usually a slightly heated exchange between driver and whoever here has answered his phone call, before one of us leaps into the car and heads – fuming – into town to the agreed meeting point.

Excuses, Excuses

If you’ve ever had to drive deep into the countryside to find a place you didn’t know, you might have some sympathy with Mr Speedy Delivery.

But our bucolic location is only ten minutes’ drive from Manacor – the second largest town on the island of Mallorca; the lane leading from the main road down to our finca gates is 2.3 kilometres of smooth tarmac surface, and you won’t find the words ‘here there be dragons’ on any map of our valley!

Excuses (translated into English) why the courier service cannot come to our finca have included:

 “I don’t drive down country lanes because they’re too rough for the van.”

“I’m running late and haven’t got time to drive out to the country.”

“I haven’t been given any directions how to find you.”

Honestly, it makes you wonder why we bother supplying these companies with a map, written directions, and GPS co-ordinates.

The Courier Calls…But Not Here

A while back, I ordered a few copies of the anthology Foreign Flavours, published by Writers Abroad, which included something I’d written. I had the expected phone call from the driver of the courier service van, asking if I would meet him at the petrol station by Manacor hospital, to collect my parcel. I duly drove into town – in record time because he’d said he was in a hurry – only to find that he’d already departed, leaving my parcel with the rather bemused cashier behind the petrol station counter.

Why am I writing about this today? Well, I ordered something last Wednesday that was to have been delivered by courier within 24 hours. Have I got it yet? No. Perhaps I should pop down to the petrol station . . .

Jan Edwards ©2012