Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Brussels, Belgium - Art Nouveau & Art Deco


Brussels is - beside Riga, Latvia, Vienna, Austria, and Glasgow, Scotland - a city with a huge amount of Art Nouveau buildings and interiors.  If you are - like me - a fan of this end of 19th century’s architectural style, there are so many architectural gems and Art Nouveau artifacts to discover in Brussels.  Starting from the Fin-de-Siecle Museum, thousands of house facades, to open-house visits from Victor Horta, Couchie, to Art Deco Architect Josef Hoffmann buildings. 

Even the Musical Instruments Museum or the Belgian Comic Strip Center are presented in Art Nouveau properties.  And then there are self-guided walks in several parts of the city.  The tourist information at the city hall and on the Royal Place sell useful maps describing walking tours, details about the buildings, and lots of images - available in English, French, Netherlands, German, and Spanish.  Despite significant public demand, few art nouveau venues are open to the public year-round in Brussels. 

Art Nouveau was most widely used in interior design, graphic arts, furniture, glass art, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and metalwork.  What are Art Nouveau Characteristics?

  • Asymmetrical shapes
  • Extensive use of arches and curved forms.
  • Curved glass and curving, plant-like embellishments
  • Mosaics and stained glass
  • Japanese motifs

Art Nouveau

This artistic movement, characterizing the aesthetic research and renewal of architecture and decoration in the west at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century. The stylistic revolution represented by these works is characterized by their open plan, the diffusion of light, and the brilliant joining of the curved lines of decoration with the structure of the building - or later the rectangular lines of Art Deco.

TIP: Get an Art Nouveau Pass online and also get a map of Art Nouveau Walks

It offers you the possibility to do five Art Nouveau walks in Brussels on your own! You will find information on emblematic buildings, on known or less known architects, and on the various materials of Art Nouveau construction!




Monday, August 16, 2021

One More Reason to Become a Minimalist

If you have seen the images of this July’s flooding catastrophe in South-Western Germany, you might have been shocked by the total devastation.  Dead bodies, contaminated buildings and items, total or half-ripped off houses, wrecked cars, campers, and trucks, broken furniture and destroyed appliances, tons and tons of household items and memorabilia…

When I saw these masses of broken or totally destroyed “stuff” that was piled in front of houses, ready to be hauled to the dump, I felt sorry for those whose lives circle around possessions.  Video cameras zoomed over tons of DVDs, knick-kNacks, paperbacks, electro parts, shoes, cosmetics, kitchen tools, tons of bedding and towels - a plethora of objects. 

It was heartbreaking for me to imagine how sad those people must be, who lost all these (often totally unnecessary) bought-and-owned things - most of the time purchased not because they needed it, but on an impulse, because they wanted it.  These people all had such a lot of stuff to deal with or to store up. First, they worked hard to make money, wasted time and energy to buy all these things, worked to store and maintain or clean them, and now lost all of that.  Imagine how much the environment was disturbed and how much energy was wasted - for nothing…

Un-Clutter Your Life

Once you avoid shopping and hoarding, you will realize that you didn’t need all of that stuff to be happy. Living with less renders your preoccupation with being prepared for everything. For example, thirty years ago, I used to travel with two large and heavy suitcases and a big tote. I thought I was prepared for every weather and any circumstances possible. Then I bought even more items and barely could close my suitcases for the flight home. 

Thank goodness, my life changed and I became a minimalist.  Recently, at an airport, I watched travelers who had piled their suitcases waiting for them to be weighted.  And then the drama began: Almost all of their suitcases were too heavy and they had to sort out stuff, trying to squeeze into their hand luggage. It reminded me of my former life. Now, I was on a Europe trip for several months with just a big tote and nothing else. That’s all I carry with me for every trip - no matter how far and long I travel. Nothing to carry, nothing to worry about. The money I save on luggage fees, I spend for a nice meal or on museum entrances, or a concert.




Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August Newsletter for Successful Writing and Publishing



Tips for Successful Publishing - Newsletter August 2021 

by 111Publishing and SavvyBookWriters

Content of this August Newsletter:



Take it easy this month: In the US, National Lazy Day is August 10.  National Relaxation Day is August 15.  And August is also a wonderful month for star gazing!  And reading I would add.  Every good writer is also an avid reader...  Enjoy this time of the year before the busy fall season starts.  During August all work comes to a virtual halt as editors, agents, proofreaders, typesetters, CEOs, dog walkers and everyone else on the planet takes a much-needed vacation. 


Better freelance writing gigs in review: What assignments pay writers well? Here’s the list:


Brittany Martin, Editor at Vegetarian Times, seeks vegetarian stories. Pitch her at . Pays $250 to $500 per piece.


Peter Allen Clark, Editor at Time, seeks pitches for the tech/business section online and in the magazine. Medium-length stories are preferred in the 800-1,000 words range. Over the next few months will also be focusing on supply chains and travel/hospitality through the COVID reopening. Also interested in pitches on real estate, retail, and other trade businesses. Very open to ideas. Starting rates of $500 for an approved pitch for a US-based writer.


Email Senior Food Edisto Emily Teel at . They are expanding their stable of food writers. Email an introduction and PDFs or links to your work. Rates can range from $200 to $1,200.


Reach out with ambitious story ideas, newsy scoops, and tips about the inner workings of entertainment businesses. Pitches from freelance journalists. We’re most interested in reported stories that hit on a timely, urgent topic. We’re much more interested in enterprising feature ideas and investigations than in pitches for profiles, event coverage, or major breaking news. Rates range from 25 cents/word to $1/word.




Deadline September 8, 2021. Artist Development Grants support artists at all stages of their careers. Grants can fund activities that enhance mastery of an artist’s craft or skills or that increase the viability of an artist's business. Funding may also support aspects of the creation of new work when the activity allows the grantee to accept a rare and important opportunity. The maximum grant amount is $2,000.




$99 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 16, 2021. It honors the best self-published ebook(s) in eight of the most popular categories. The overall winner receives $5,000, an interview in Writer's Digest, and a paid trip to the Writer's Digest Annual Conference. The first prize winner in each category will receive $1,000. The competition is open to self-published authors of English-language ebooks which were published (or revised and republished) electronically between 2016 and 2021.


Open to Australian women. Collection of poems by an Australian woman poet. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: August 20


Uplifting, feel-good short story with an overall word count of 2000 on the theme: ‘Now and Then.’  Prize: £200.  Deadline: August 28, 2021.


Genre: Scholarly essay. All work submitted must have been written or published within the last year. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: August 31


We welcome whatever stories you decide to send to us on any theme as long as it is within our customary 500-word limit, either flash fiction or creative nonfiction, with 500 euro in prize money to the winner in each category. And to add a little spice to the mix and help focus your mind, one teeny-weeny challenge is that the title of your story MUST be three words only, no more, no less. 10 Euro Entry Fee. Deadline September 30.


The Quill Prose Award is for a work of previously unpublished prose with a minimum of 150 pages by a queer (LGBTQIA+) writer. The award is $1,000 and the publication of the award-winning manuscript by Red Hen Press.  $10 Entry Fee.  Deadline Oct 31


You have finished your manuscript and plan to self-publish as soon as the last word is written, STOP.  Don't publish until you have reviewers lined up, and all your publicity in place. Read: 

111 Tips to Get Free Book Reviews
Best Strategies for Getting Lots of Great Reviews plus 1,200+ reviewer contact links

and:  111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer

How to Create, Where to Upload, and How to Market Your Videos


Like any other product on the market, people rely on the recommendations of others when they choose a book to read. As a self-publisher, success rests on the number of readers on Goodreads, on Amazon, and on blogs who will give your book a 5-star review.