the publishingalley indie book blog

Navigation Menu

Blog-A-Thons – a continuing story

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012

I have started to write a Blog-A-Thon about my bus trip to and from work.

After writing two books I have found myself time poor and writing another became a larger task than I had time or energy for so I decided to keep writing but in short Blog style stories instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my first Blog-A-Thon Tales of a Tardy Bus Commuter 

http://publishingalley.com/blog/blog-a-thon/tales-of-a-tardy-bus-commuter

You can also find this blog on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/TalesOfATardyBusCommuter

and on the Blog-A-Thon tab on this web page.

Read More

Mirror to the Soul

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011

What amazing photographs we are able to spontaneously take with mobile phones. This picture was taken in my sister’s courtyard one beautiful autumn day. It captures perfectly the love my sister has for her lovely courtyard garden. Private but giving, is the essence of the mirrors message. What is it about mirrors that make them so attractive? My apartment is full of mirrors; inside and outside.  I love them. They offer up such wonderful light and bring the outdoors inside. They create focus, brighten the dullest of areas and add another dimension to any room.

There was a time I dreaded mirrors so much I tried to ignore them; or at least tried to get them to ignore me. Time was the issue I had with the mirrors. Especially the forceful mirrors at the hairdressers! Mirrors, mirrors everywhere! It was impossible to escape them. The awful mirrors had stolen my youth. The image reflected in the mirror could not possibly be me.
                                         

The woman in the mirror was hollow

 As if she had been drained of life, sucked dry 

Like a spiders prey…         

Quote: Triumph of Joy.   

 

During this challenging time I felt defeated by life, as if I had returned from an epoch battle. My spirit was broken and I felt numb. In my heart I knew the only way I could face that image in the mirror was to take responsibility for the choice I made to stay and support my husband. When I was able to see more clearly I did take responsibility for my choice to stay.

Only then was it possible to acknowledge my true emotions and face the pain, anger, and resentment. The more I was able to face years of unresolved emotions the lighter my spirit became. The strain upon my face began to fade. With the support of family, friends and my beloved animals, I finally found the courage to look directly into that mirror. Not only did I look honestly in the mirror but I honoured my true image for her courage to look within.
    
Once again shimmering mirrors are a delight to me. Images dance in my courtyard. Mirrored images of plants and shrubs transfer their beauty both inside and out. Mirrors play a sweet part in my life again. They are especially transforming when a candle light image is captured. Mirrored reflections bring joy and lift my spirit; so too they energise my home and my heart. 

My life is filled with light again.

Pauline Robinson’s book Triumph of Joy is available on Publishing Alley.

 

Read More

Finding your Creative You – Workshop Jan 22nd 2012

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011


Wish you were more creative?

We all have moments where we need to find an original thought and all our minds can come up with is a version of something we have read or heard.

So how do we tap into the new, the fresh, the imaginative and the original thoughts and ideas?

The secret is stopping the endless chatter of the mind and making space for your creative you to be heard.

Imagine me Creative are holding a series of workshops to show you how to become more creative and the first for 2012 Finding your Creative You is being presented by author Alice (A.C.) Flanagan on Sunday January 22nd 2012.

Details and bookings are available on the Imagine me Creative website.

Early bird discounts are available for booking made before December 20th 2011.

So come along and unlock your artistic and inspirational side!

Read More

Cracking The Code – Creating well-formatted e-books

Posted by on Nov 13, 2011

The market for e-books is huge – and growing! The Amazon Kindle and other e-book readers, such as the Sony Reader and the ever-popular iPad, mean that more than ever, publishers and authors are looking to make their work available in electronic formats.  However, you must ensure that your e-book has the same professional “look and feel” as the printed shop-front version if you aim to make your work available using electronic media.

As usual, the e-book hardware manufacturers have not agreed on a standard format. Amazon’s Kindle Reader accepts e-books in the MOBI file format, while Sony and Apple products display e-books using the EPUB format.

Getting your MS to resemble the perfect layout of the hard-copy print version available in shops is not a simple task. Several computer programmes are available that will convert a digital form of your manuscript - such as a pdf file – to EPUB and MOBI formats. However, the way that these programmes recognise the formatting of your manuscript can be a hit and miss affair if all you do is follow the default settings. Line spacing, line and page breaks, justification, bold type, italics – all of these are likely to be mis-handled by conversion programmes.

Popular e-book formats use the same code languages that your Web Browser reads, to format the text of your manuscript. These code languages include HTML, XML, XHTML and CSS to manage the way your manuscript will look in e-book form. If you intend to create your own e-books, you will need a better than passing familiarity with these code languages to fine-tune the way your book will look.

If you don’t want to learn how to use these code languages, you can use a professional conversion service to convert your MS to e-book format. This may well prove to be money well spent unless you really are keen to become proficient at managing programming code. A professional service will turn around your e-book creation in a timely fashion, and deliver books in a layout and format that will please your readers.

Needless to say, cost will vary, depending on the amount of work involved. For example, the print-ready PDF file sent to your or your publisher’s printer will be easier to re-format than a manuscript delivered as a Microsoft “Word” document file as the print-ready pdf contains format, layout and fonts that you will use in your e-books. A “Word” document will need to be laid our as though for hard copy print, and this process alone may prove time consuming.

If you are going to make your work available in e-book format, it definitely pays to get the formatting right first time. Making a good impression helps pay dividends down the track - but disappoint a customer the first time, and you’ll have a terribly difficult time getting repeat custom. First impressions are lasting impressions!

If you want to discuss your e-book conversion requirement, feel free to contact me:

Peter.lancett@xlitherfilms.com (see website for xlitherfilms here)

Peter Lancett is a many-times published author, fiction editor and now writes mostly for film and television.

Read More

Letting go via gratitude – a personal story from the writer of The Gratitude Diary and Daily Planner

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011

This is a very personal story from the writer of of  The Gratitude Diary and Daily Planner about how her life and finances came crashing down around her, ruining her plans for the future and leaving her in a big hole. Then a simple breakthrough  allowed her to let go and a new future opened.

It’s hard to know when things began to fall apart. Looking back,  it felt doomed from the beginning.

Our  motivation was not exactly positive. It was like our circumstances of being a 30-something couple, in love, preparing to marry, somehow warranted the idea  that we needed to have our  dream home, white fence and pool in place. I felt an overwhelming desire  to ‘achieve’ at all costs.

Neither of us was fully  aligned with a particular career path at the time so we focused all of our  energy on  the future reality of stability and homeliness instead. We would laugh at our  friends who insisted on  remaining debt free and therefore commitment free,  thinking that we would somehow be ahead of them in our  40s.  And there lies the problem.

Our  motivation was not one  of fun, love and creativity. It was one  of pressure,expectation and responsibility. I remember we would say to each other, ‘Oh well, I guess  these are the years  where we need to take life seriously’.

In the space  of 18 months, our  mortgage went from $150,000 to $340,000, and the house was nowhere near being built. We had managed to renovate a small cabin on the land that we believed would cost around $5,000. In the end, there was not much change from $50,000.

Our  wedding drew  nearer and the mortgage continued to skyrocket. My partner and I would argue continuously about the reality of the situation. He was taking the position that God  would prevail and, in the long term, we would be okay,  as long as we had each other. I, on the other hand, became very  suspect of this God AND my  partner because all the money had somehow disappeared – there was no house and no honeymoon to boot!

I became fearful of the future and I was unable to accept the stark truth of our  financial and relational situation. I would not even sit down and estimate how long we had left surviving on  our  equity, because I could feel it was bad,  and the reality of exactly how bad  it was would be more than I could bear  only four  weeks before our  wedding.

Everything came crashing down in the last few weeks leading up  to the big day,when I realised that I just did  not feel like I wanted to get married. I began to have nightmares about the scene where the celebrant says,  ‘Do you,  Melanie, take this man…’, at which point I would run screaming from the altar in a puff  of pink tulle, tearing my  hair out and completely ruining the day  for everyone!

No matter what I did  to try and look on the bright side  of things, the feeling of love  and connection I had with my partner had disappeared.I cancelled the wedding and my  partner took it very  hard. He eventually ended the relationship altogether, as I guess  the shame of a failed  wedding was more than he wanted to bear.

So, on  21st of April,  seven days  after my 37th birthday, I sit alone on  the verandah. My home is empty, my  partner has left me,  I have a mortgage of $340,000, I have no job,  no means of covering the $700 or so weekly payments, and I am  totally physically and emotionally exhausted.

It became pretty clear  to me  at this point that what I needed to do  most of all was surrender. Because  my  energy levels were  so low,  I could not follow through on  any of my  plans anyway. I was too emotionally overwhelmed, and I had every reason to be so.

Early each morning, around 4am, when the anxiety in my  body woke  me  up,  I would sit on  the verandah in my  PJs and just breathe. After about a week  of sitting, I was motivated to journal my  thoughts. It began with very  negative outpourings like ‘my life is over’, ‘I have ruined everything’ and ‘I cannot trust myself’. Then one magical day,  I listened to the news about either the war  in Afghanistan or the latest flood victims – I can’t remember which – and I compared my  level  of suffering to these people. My problems paled in comparison. I tried to imagine what these victims were  going through and I began to feel silly in the drama that I had created for myself.

I realised that being bankrupt and having a broken-down relationship is nothing compared to ill health, death, war trauma poverty or environmental disaster. The following day,  my  journal read  very differently. I wrote, “I am  grateful for my  eggs”.  This was what was holding my current attention and therefore was my current reality. I was at peace with my current reality… eggs.

The following day,  I noticed my  ocean views.  I had had ocean views  for about four  years,  but it was as though I was just unable to see them. I was top busy dreaming about my  dream house – I guess that’s why they call them dream houses.

Now,  I really  need to describe for you exactly what I was doing and what I was not doing. I was not ‘being with’ the impending doom of bank foreclosure, for this was something that would come in the future and, anyway, the only evidence I had for this was in my  mind. I was ‘being with’ myself and the air surrounding my  body. I was being with the sunlight on my  skin and the way the sunlight reflected off the ocean in such a surreal and beautiful way.  I guess I was just in so much stress, I sort of had a meltdown and landed firmly back  into reality again. I began to notice that reality was beautiful, even exquisite.

So from the being with eggs, to the ocean, came a deeper process of being with my  emotional pain. The separation and loneliness became such a passionate affair  with myself as I learned to gently be with all that I was feeling. I moved from feelings of sadness and deep loss to feelings of ecstasy and true connection within seconds of each other. I had 13 years’ experience as a psychiatric nurse and the thought occurred to me  that I might have been diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder – but this was not the case.  It was simply the full  existence of reality, both the darkness and the light, revealing itself to me.

My daily  practice became my saving grace. I learned how to ‘be with’ and be grateful fo revery experience, emotion, thought and circumstance that was happening.

From  the eye of the tornado, which is where I sat, a field  of love  began to surround me,  and, while I knew the tornado had not disappeared, I was no longer affected by its force  and gravity. In fact, I was grateful for it, as it was teaching me  a great lesson.

The banks would call,  and I would chat lightheartedly with the staff. This would catch them off-centre as these ‘heavy’phone calls with debt collectors are usually not friendly. I would ask them how their day  was and whether they had noticed the gloriousness of the sunshine yet. I gave them any and all the information I had, and I also  gave  them my  truth, which was,I can’t pay  this month’s instalments and I don’t know when I will be able  to. I have no means to pay,  and I’m truly sorry  that I have created such a mess.  When they continued to demand commitments from me such as when will I ‘fix this up’, the best I could offer  was,  “I just don’t know,but I will let you  know when I do”.

About six weeks  went by, and I continued my  practice of gratitude. I was definitely much lighter, and I felt like I was regaining control in my  life again. I decided to rent out one  of the bedrooms in my  house as it was a big house and I was feeling ready for company again. By this time, I was running two journals, one  for my  daily appointments and the other for my  daily and momentary appreciations of reality, my  gratitude journal.

I shared my  process with my new flat mate, and mentioned halfheartedly that I wished I could carry  around only one  book, as two books were  heavy in my  handbag and beginning to hurt my shoulder. He just so happened to be a graphic designer, and offered to design one for me.

My focus  went from drowning in a sea of emotional despair to creating the Gratitude Diary  and Daily  Planner to be enjoyed and shared by many. We are four years  into the life of the diary, and the process continues to deepen and grow.

In summary, it appears to me that anything done from a negative motivation, or more specifically, a motivation of anxiety, will surely end with the creation of that which is most feared. The thing that we are avoiding magically creates itself when we engage in behaviour to control it.

In the process of working in gratitude, however, actions are taken from a secure steppingstone, a stone built by love, humility and surrender. From  this place, creation will keep  creating itself in a forward momentum, and always  on  a foundation of love.  Humility is also  a very important emotion to embrace. With humility, we may  begin to feel and connect with ourselves in a way  that is authentic and intimate.

I guess  I need to say that everything turned out in the end and the property sold  before I got into any serious trouble. The process and practice of gratitude has evolved into an online course to be internationally launched in November. I am  still in the forward momentum, and I have no idea  where we are going. I feel totally surrendered to the journey and continue to feel excited by possibilities yet to be revealed.

If you  are having trouble finding anything to be grateful for right now, remember, there’s always  eggs – and, in return, you  will perhaps find heaven!

Melanie (now Morthern) Spears graduated as a registered nurse in 1987 and worked in pychiatry an drug and alcohol rehabilitation for 13 years. In 2000, she left the industry determined to find a more complete system for healing addictions and addressing psychiatric illnesses. She now runs workshops in soul alignment and emotional awareness.

Read More

Tea for Two

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011

She lost all sense of time,

Of  knowing, of purpose, of truth. 

A piece of pale driftwood

Floating in a wild sea of uncertainty. 

She who was me.                        

Quote :Triumph of Joy

Penned years ago, during a time of great despair – these words have drawn me back to them. We live in such uncertain times. Each day the world offers up fresh challenges.  Human beings are faced with war, famine, poverty, extremes of weather on a scale not experienced before. The creatures of the natural world face destruction of forests and pollution of water ways. Daily news carries news of uncertainty on financial markets.

How do we source a way to rise above the fear generated by such uncertainty of what lies ahead. For myself I focus on staying in love not walking in fear and try to be the best person I can be. Not that I am saying it is easy to stay uplifted all the time, rather I seek ways to source inspiration in the moment. The moment is what matters and how we are in that moment. We all experience times of sadness, self doubt or regret. How can we bring something magical to those times when emotions weigh us down?

Recently I find myself missing my Mum who passed over three years ago. Our relationship although good was not the deep relationship I am blessed to share with my own daughter. It saddened me I had not known the true essence of my Mother. As I thought about my Mum and how little I knew of her true feelings I decided rather than focus on regret I would find a way to bring joy into missing her.  How could I find a way to honour my Mum, I wondered?

 It came to me one morning that I could dedicate my first delicious first cup of tea to her. Being English she loved a cupper. The tea would remind me of what she loved and bring sacredness to my thoughts of her. Each morning now,  I dedicate the joy of that first cup to the love Mum gave us as children. As I hold the cup in my hands I focus on her compassion; her love of dance; of beauty and the natural world and I give thanks for the beautiful woman she truly was. Just a simply gesture, you may think, but one that enables me to change my focus from sadness to joy and helps me feel stronger during uncertain times.

Important to me in the scheme of things.

Read More
Page 1 of 612345...Last »