JCU Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan Wins Two Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing

Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan

Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan

John Cabot University Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan, author the bestselling Amazon e-book The Marco Chronicles, has been named a recipient of two of the 9th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing in the categories of Travel Memoir and Women’s Travel.

Awards in each category are divided by gold, silver and bronze. Geoghegan’s The Marco Chronicles received the Gold Award in Travel Memoir, while Things You Can Learn from Nuns and Other Tales received the Bronze Award in Women’s Travel. 

Congratulations to Professor Geoghegan!


14 Feb 2015| We Said Go Travel Winter Travel Writing Contest

Image from We Said Go Travel.

We Said Go Travel has begun its winter travel writing contest with a first place prize award of $500 (USD).  The genre is nonfiction. Please, visit their site for further details.  Below is an excerpt from their site:

We are looking for an article about a place that inspires you to be brave and save the day. In Chris Brogan‘s, It’s Not About the Tights: An Owners Manual on Bravery, he shares his definition of bravery as “not being afraid of yourself.” He says: “You’ve got to use whatever past you came from as part of the origin story that shapes the hero you will become. Welcome to day one. You are the superhero you’ve been waiting for.”

Enter from Jan 2, 2015 to Feb 14, 2015.

  • THEME: Inspiration: A place that inspires you to be brave
  • DEADLINE: Enter by midnight PST on February 14, 2015 
  • PRIZES: 1st Prize – $500 usd cash 2nd Prize – $100 usd cash 3rd Prize – $50 usd cash


We wish you the best of luck!

Happy Writing!

1 Sept 2014 | Welcome to a New Academic Year!

Welcome Back Fellow Writers!

It is that time again: back to the classrooms, the books and, of course, the creative writing courses.

This semester there are three creative writing workshops on offer: Creative Nonfiction, Screenwriting, and Travel Writing.  Creative Nonfiction is being taught by Professor Andrea di Robilant, Screenwriting by Professor Erika Tasini, and Travel Writing by Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan.

If you are an incoming study abroad student or full-time student in the spring, there are already four creative writing workshops included in the preliminary Spring 2015 schedule: Fiction, Travel Writing, Writing the Eternal City, and Screenwriting.  Like this semester, the Introduction to Creative Writing (taught this semester by Professor George Minot) will also be offered.

With a new semester of writing comes a new body of student writing. So, look out to see what our students have to share!


Aug-Dec 2014 | Submissions Deadlines: No Entry Fee Contests

Image Found: http://creativewritingatguelph.ca (University of Guelph, Creative Writing at Guelph)


Freelancewriting.com, a website dedicated to assisting writers in achieving their goals, has been in operation since 1997. The site provides writers with guidance through articles, video tutorials, reading recommendations, job listings, and contest information.

Certainly, there are many sites that offer as much or more to writers.  Freelancewriting.com, however, makes a point of sharing creative writing contests (book/fiction/nonfiction/poetry) which only have no entry fee.

In essence, Freelancewriting.com has done the proverbial work of finding the needle in the haystack. So, many thanks to them for having done that work!  It is a time-consuming task searching through hundreds of contests to find the ones that do not even try to break the bank.

So what are some  contests that they have listed?

Click on the name of the contest for details.

(Deadline | Contest Name | First Prize | Genre)


Remember:  If you do not enter, then you cannot win.  So, take a chance!

Happy Writing!


4 July 2014| Travel Writing Contest by WeSaidGoTravel.com

WeSaidGoTravel is a travel website devoted to creating global awareness through sharing written and visual travel experiences by people worldwide.  Lisa Niver Rajna and George Rajna, founders of WeSaidGoTravel.com, are inviting writers to submit entries to their Travel Writing Contest.   

The Contest’s theme is “Independence: A Place that Allows You to Feel Free.”

The contest opened on May 27, 2014 and entries are accepted until July 4, 2014 (midnight PST).  There is no entry fee and the prizes are as follows:  1st Prize – $500, 2nd Prize – $100, and 3rd Prize – $50.  

Entries can be written in any language, but must include an English translation.  Up to five entries are allowed, of which the length should be between 500-800 words, and may be accompanied by one photo.  There is no age or nationality restriction.  Anyone from anywhere can enter.  So, no excuses!  

John Cabot University Students, degree-seeking and study-abroad, this contest was seemingly made for you!  Write about your experiences of living and studying in Rome, or simply of being a part of an international community.  

Either way, share how your decision to open yourselves to a broader world has helped you to achieve a sense of independence or has been an act of freedom.  Visit the top link for more information about WeSaidGoTravel.com and the Contest.

Good Luck!  



Article | Shebooks: Elizabeth Geoghegan, “For better or worse, the city of Rome is my muse”

Professor Geoghegan’s interview with Shebooks:

Elizabeth Geoghegan is the author of the immensely popular Shebook The Marco Chronicles: To Rome, without love. Her second e-book, Natural Disasters, is on the way. In this fun Q&A session, Geoghegan tells how she fell for Rome, the Eternal City, and why fiction is sometimes more personal than memoir.” (From the article).


Do You Have Writer’s Block? Author Charlie Jane Anders Has The Solution

Is there anyone who hasn’t felt the dread of facing a blank paper or computer screen?  When the thought of having to write produces a feeling akin to nausea and utter despair?  Sometimes the problem is that the ideas refuse to come.  Sometimes there are just too many ideas.  Perhaps it is simply an issue of having little interest in the subject matter, but still there is the expectation that one must write–especially true for students. 😉

In the linked article, author Charlie Jane Anders has taken the time to identify the ten main types of writer’s block.  Not only has she identified them, but she has also given measures to counter them.  Although the language of the article is geared towards fiction writers, the identified blocks are certainly applicable to anyone who has had trouble writing.  

Interested in learning more?  Simply visit the link above.


Anders’ 10 Types of Writer’s Block:

  1.  You can’t come up with an idea.
  2.  You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.
  3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.
  4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.
  5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.
  6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.
  7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
  8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.
  9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.
  10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

Writing Resources | Tumblr’s FYCD: The Writer’s List to End All Lists?

Bloggers spend a great deal of time perusing the internet, researching their topics of interest or (let’s be real) the latest in the way of internet humour.  Of course, I am no exception.

From Pinterest to Tumblr, I am out there looking  for the next tool or resource that can help fellow student writers as well as myself.  With my latest Tumblr find, I believe that I have struck gold with a post by FYCD.

Just to get it out of the way, FYCD stands for “F*** Yeah Character Development”.

Beyond its provocative name, FYCD is a  major writer’s information hub on Tumblr that gathers information character creation, development and writing; and offers valuable tools and resources to its followers and visitors.

So, what did I get my from my visit?  Well, the answer is just below: an exhaustive list of internet resources for writers of all levels. The list covers just about everything, from ergonomics to writing software.

All links have been checked for functionality and edited as needed.  Still, it is a hefty amount of information.  So, take a deep breath and click on a link.

You can thank me later. 🙂

General Tips

Character Development

Female Characters

Tips for Specific Characters


Point of View

Plot, Conflict, Structure and Outline

Setting & Worldbuilding

Creativity Boosters* denotes prompts

Revision & Grammar

Tools & Software

(Original post by thelastrplord.tumblr.com–site now defunct).


Article | Writers Digest: HOW TO BECOME A TRAVEL WRITER

Travel has remained an integral part of the JCU experience, whether that travel is to the University itself from your home country, or participating in one of its many student trips to see various parts of Italy, or even simply organizing your own weekend trip to neighbouring (or not so neighbouring) countries. For our students, travelling becomes a part of  academic and personal growth.

To facilitate that process, the University offers a variety of courses that incorporate this unique feature, including ones specifically for students interested in or who are already engaged in creative writing.

So, if you are thinking about writing you travel story, then take a look at the article link above by Brian Klem, The Writer’s Dig.  After that, visit the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation‘s page on the JCU website for information on our upcoming summer sessions.


“Nearly everyone loves to travel, and many of us wrote a really great story in Junior High, so often people feel it would be easy  to become a travel writer.  But to me, it is like entering the ring in Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas to face a raging bull, waving, instead of a cape, Hemingway’s “truest sentence you know”.

All good travel writing moves the reader twice: it transports him to a place, and moves him emotionally.” (Extract from article).

18 May 2014 | Submissions Deadline: New Letters’ Fiction, Poetry & Essay Contest!

It’s that time of year again, New Letters is seeking submissions for its Fiction, Poetry, and Essay Contests.  You can enter online or through regular mail.  Multiple submissions are accepted.  There are, however, associated fees: $15 for the first entry; $10 for each additional entry.

Thinking that the entry fee is expensive for your student budget?  Well, banish the thought.  Your entry also grants you a one-year subscription (four issues) to the New Letters Magazine!  Regular cost of a one-year subscription? $22.

We’ll leave the math up to you!   Either way, you have no excuses not to enter!

Manuscripts will be accepted until May 18th, which means you have just under a month to get those second, third, and fourth drafts reviewed by your mentors, peers, and loved ones before submitting!   So, put your pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and write!



New Letters Contest Image

(New Letters’ contest advertisement sent to JCU)


“Entries for the New Letters Writing Contests will be accepted until May 18th Our Literary Awards have discovered and advanced the work of writers since 1986. 
Winners receive $1,500 in each genre (short story, poetry, nonfiction) and publication in New Letters magazine.  You can enter via postal mail or online.  Visit our website or Facebook page for more information.
Final judges in past years have included Alberto Rios, Janet Burroway, Mary Jo Salter, Kim Addonizio, Daniel Woodrell, David Shields, Cornelius Eady, and other great writers.  The 2014 judges will be announced later; all submissions are judged anonymously.
Happy writing and best of luck!
PS: Don’t forget, your entry fee includes a one-year (four book-length issues) subscription to New Letters magazine. A pretty good deal, if we do say so ourselves.”