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I have been writing almost all my life. I have published novels, short stories, story collections, memoirs, and well over 1,000 articles on all sorts of topics. I have traveled around the world in dozens of countries. I am especially familiar with the United States, Europe, and the Indian Subcontinent. I have taught English as a second language in various countries. I have several children and am familiar with maintaining a home and raising kids.

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Writing Sample

Sample One:


Unique Places to Visit Near Thessaloniki, Greece: The Island of Thassos


When people think of Greek islands the first ones that come to mind are usually Santorini, Rhodes, Mikonos, and the monster of them all, Crete.  But near Thessaloniki there is a beautiful island, the northernmost of all the Greek islands, popular with Greeks and tourists alike, called Thasos.

How to Get There

One of the great things about Thasos is that it is very close to the mainland, so it is much less expensive to get to than most of the other Greek islands.  From Thessaloniki you take the northeast highway to Kavala.  It's a wide new highway on which speeds up to 130 km per hour are allowed, so you can get to Kavala in an hour or so.  On the way you can enjoy beautiful views of the lake district north of Thessaloniki, and farther on the northern coast of the Aegean Sea.  The ferry that leaves from the terminal in the center of Kavala goes to the western side of Thassos; it takes forty-five minutes or so and is slightly more expensive.  Just east of Kavala there is another ferry which takes you to the northern part of the island; this takes about half an hour.  For the affluent there is frequent airline service as well, from both Athens and Thessaloniki.

The Interior

The center of Thassos is dominated by mountains, and a drive up into the hills can yield breathtaking views of the island and the sparkling Aegean.  Parts of the hills are rough barren rock, but other parts are covered with beautiful verdant forest.  In the small villages scattered throughout the hills you can find tavernas (traditional Greek restaurants) where you can feast on grilled or roasted lamb and other traditional delicacies.  Thasos is also famous for its wines, and wine shops in the villages can sell you bottles of regional wine at considerable discounts from the prices in the cities.

The Beaches

But the main reason people go to Thasos is the beaches.  There are beautiful beaches all around the island; if you want you can take a slow circular tour and hit a different beach each day.  You can either stay at a different hotel each night – because hotels abound – or you can stay in one place and take drives one way or the other to various locations.  Some white sand beaches are so broad there is room for multitudes of volleyball and soccer games and Frisbee matches.  Some beaches have wonderful opportunities for snorkeling and observing the teeming colorful undersea life.  Some beaches have romantic and mysterious beachside caves and grottos.  And for the adventurous, one beach on the east side of the island is officially designated a nude beach.  Be aware, though, that not only here but on many Greek beaches, especially on the islands, women are quite free about sunbathing topless.  As I said, there are many beaches for many tastes, so you can check them all out or find one that suits your fancy and relax.  There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and night spots around the beaches as well.

Other Sights

There are several monasteries in the hills, for those who enjoy contemplating Orthodox art and architecture.  Various archeological sites, the ruins of ancient marketplaces and temples, are scattered around the island, notably the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Dionysus.  There are three museums in various locations, including an archeological museum.

In Conclusion

One advantage of Thassos is that though it is popular it is not as crowded as some of the other islands, even during the peak season of late July and early August.  You can enjoy yourself without being overwhelmed by other holidaymakers.  So why not give Thasos a try?    


Sample Two:


How to Write a Formal Letter


Many English exams call for the writing of a formal letter in their essay sections, though the details of the questions vary from exam to exam.  The Cambridge exam, for example, calls for a "transactional letter" – that is, information is given in the form of a portion of a letter or an advertisement, and brief notes either surround it or are listed which must be added to the answer.  In the English exam from the University of Michigan a formal letter usually takes the form of a letter to an editor in which the writer must give an opinion on a topic.  In the EdExcel/Pearson exam an essay in the reading section along with specific bullet points are used as a guide.

But no matter what form the question takes, a formal letter has a certain uniformity, and as long as you follow a few basic guidelines you can write a good one.

First of all, the layout must be considered.  A formal letter should be written in blocked paragraphs, without indentation, and spaces delineate one paragraph from another.   In a real formal letter the sender's address and the date go in the upper right, and the address of the receiver under these on the left side, but for exams normally these are not required, and the examinee starts with the greeting.

The greeting in a formal letter depends on whether the name of the person to whom it is addressed is given.  If the name is given, then the greeting should read Mr. (for a man or boy of any age), Mrs. (for a married woman or widow), Miss (for a girl who is not yet an adult), or Ms. (for an adult woman or a woman whose status is unsure) – and the last name only.  If the name is not given, the safest greeting would be Dear Sir/Madam.

After the greeting you leave a space and then start the first paragraph, which is the introduction.  In the introduction, in formal language, you say why you are writing but do not provide details.  For example:  "I am writing with regard to your article..." or "I am writing to give my opinion on..."  The introduction can be short, often even just one sentence.

After the introduction is the main part, and the subject matter and number of paragraphs is determined by the question.  Of course a careful study of the question and an idea of the paragraph outline, either on paper or at least in your mind, is imperative before you begin writing.  If there are several topics to write about, group related topics together.

Then, in the conclusion, you briefly sum up what you have already said, and use some sort of set phrase to close.  For example:  "I hope my opinion will be taken into consideration." or "Thanking you for your time and attention."

Finally, after another space, you write the signature ending:  "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely" – followed by your signature.  If your signature is a scrawl, not easily readable, you should print your name underneath it.  In any case, you should use your full first and last name.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your formal letter will look good, have good organization, and say what it needs to say.  If it has the advantage of all these assets, when the examiner marks it he or she is more likely to overlook minor spelling or grammar mistakes and award you a good grade.


Article Reviews

Great blog!
Great writing, quick turnaround.
Well-organized and well-written. Thanks!
Great turnaround and perfectly written.