Sunday, February 28, 2016

Criminalizing the Provisions of Basic Human Rights in Europe

Can you imagine to cross the Mediterranean,
standing with 50 others in such a boat? 

Can you imagine your land is in war, your schools, hospitals, offices and your own house is bombed, several family members are killed?  After five years of war, when there is no end of death and no survival - what would you do?  Flee or patiently await certain death?  I assume 99% would flee... 
And exactly this happens in Syria and other countries.  War refugees cannot just board a plane.  They have to find a way to get out of the country, maybe following friends or family who are already safe in another European country.  As they do not have a car, and have to cross the Mediterranean Sea, they give their lives - and their money - into the hands of smugglers who promise them a boat journey to the next European island.  More than 3,000 war refugees drowned in the last year when unsafe and overcrowded boats capsized.

Basic Humanity
For a long time volunteers helped those who arrived alive at the shores - while governments and even the Red Cross were merely absent.  In Greece in 2015, and especially in the North Aegean, we saw an amazing wave of solidarity among Greek citizens and foreigners working together to help to manage the huge wave of refugees arriving on the shores.  In recent days in the Greek islands we are seeing things change as paranoia emerges along with cries to “control” the volunteers and the NGOs.

Criminalization of Volunteers

Green European Journal reports: "Fishermen who rescue refugees from the sea and certain death can be charged with aiding illegal immigration. Volunteers who cook in public spaces can be charged for not having secured public health permits.

Volunteer doctors can be charged with working in Greece without having their licenses to be reviewed and approved by the national government. Volunteers who pitch tents in public spaces can be charged with violating laws forbidding camping in public spaces.  Volunteers who help to change the wet clothes of shivering children might be charged with molesting them.

Photographers could be charged with violating military space on the coastlines.  Those who donate food, clothing, and other supplies could be charged for not providing receipts.  And finally, volunteers choosing to work in small groups without large donor bases, high overhead, bank accounts, and tax numbers can be prohibited from offering to help."  

It is just insane...
."Instead of looking for ways to deter the volunteers, the Greek and European Union authorities ought to consider the illegality of their own activities.  They are required by European law to offer asylum to refugees of war.  Is it ethical to close the Schengen borders?  Why blame the volunteers or to imagine that the refugees will stop coming if there are no volunteers to meet them."


Monday, February 22, 2016

SlideShares: How to Navigate Goodreads' Pages

Authors often complain that it is difficult to navigate Goodreads' website where over 40 Million! readers are converging on the search for the next great book.  However, when I ask them, if they clicked on each of the links on Goodreads pages or if they went to the FAQ sections and checked out the topics and answers there, I get this blank stare ...

Goodreads helps not only authors to be discovered by potential customers, including links to their sales pages, but is also a valuable source of information, contacts and possibilities to promote books.
Just a few examples:

- FREE event announcements
- Book Giveaways
- Book Reviewer contacts
- Communities for all book categories (25,000+)
- Book recommendations

Slideshares Help to Navigate Goodreads.
To learn more about how to create your professional Author profile, everything about the author dashboard and widgets on Goodreads, check out this useful feature on their side.

How Authors Can Promote their Books on Goodreads.
One of the SlideShare presentation details how authors can use Goodreads to reach their target audience: passionate readers. It includes several case studies of successful giveaways, ad campaigns, author discussion groups, and more.

Just go to: and learn how to make the most out of your Goodreads presence!  


Monday, February 8, 2016

US $25,000 Fellowship for Established US Writers

Would you like to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement? America's National Endowment for the Arts’ Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers.  Applications are reviewed through an anonymous process in which the only criteria for review are artistic excellence and artistic merit. It’s one of the most popular fellowships in the nation, so expect quite some competition.

American Literature

Literature inspires, enriches, educates, and entertains. It reminds us that there is beauty and joy in language, that others have insights worth paying attention to, that in our struggles we are not alone.  By helping writers and translators create new work and connect with audiences through publishers and other literary organizations and programs, the National Endowment for the Arts celebrates literature as an essential reflection of our nation's rich diversity of voices.

Submission Guidelines

You must submit your application electronically through, the federal government’s online application system.  The system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., EST, on March 9, 2016.

More details how to apply (electronic applications only!) can be found on this website: