Category Archives: General
Imagine if you were going about your day as usual, or maybe even having a really bad day, and then the corner of an envelope poking out from behind a tree branch catches your eye… or maybe you arrive back to your car to find an envelope tucked under your windscreen wipers… or you’re browsing the books in your local library and notice an oddly placed envelope between the spines…
You pick up the envelope, wondering what it is.
It says ‘For You’.
You wonder if someone has dropped it, or left it for someone else who didn’t pick it up, or it as been mistakenly placed where you found it.
But still, it says ‘YOU’, so maybe you should open it?
You open it. Of course you do. 🙂
You start reading. A small smile lifts the corners of your lips, when you realise the letter IS for you.
But you don’t know who wrote it. It could be anyone… a friend, a school student, a busy parent, a local doctor, or a stranger. Regardless, as you read the words, you feel a strange but exciting connection to the person who wrote these words. It was like they knew what you needed to hear, what would help you on this very day. It’s like a guardian angel whispered in their ear inspiring their words and guided them on where to leave it so you would find it. It seems somehow … magical.
The letter reminds you about what is really important in life. It reminds you that you are doing the best you can. It helps you understand that you are not alone. This letter, from an anonymous stranger, helps you feel connected. Special. Lucky.
You re-read the letter and then glance around… is someone hiding, waiting to see your reaction? Or have they long gone, satisfied in the knowledge that the right person at the right time will find it? The right person did find it. You found it. This simple letter has made your day, and the warmth of gratitude fills your heart.
Now imagine if you were the person who had written the letter. You may not ever know who received it, but you would know you’d done something great, however simple, that could either make someone smile, or even change their life. You just never know.
If you had the chance to do that, with only a few minutes of your time, would you do it? What if not only you did it, but lots of other people. Hundreds. Thousands. Maybe more… Imagine the effect on so many people, letting them know that someone out there cares, even if they are a stranger. Because we’re all in this life journey together, and one by one, and together, we can make a difference. By spreading kindness and support, we can bring more light to this world that is experiencing so many dark moments.
During August 2017 to coincide with the publication of THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT book and journal, I will be encouraging people around the globe to write secret letters to inspire strangers and leave them in public to be found.
And I invite you to take part…
Join the “Secret Letters to Strangers Month – Global Kindness Initiative” here: https://www.facebook.com/events/465815260431665/ and let’s make a positive difference in the lives of others.
*I would love to get as many people as possible to take part in this, and I need your help to spread the word. Please share the event page or this blog post with as many friends as you can, in your FB groups, and in any communities you belong to. Thanks in advance! 🙂
~ Juliet xo
Though this blog is mostly about writing and books and self-empowerment, a writer’s gotta eat, and something I love almost as much as writing is cooking and baking (but mostly eating what I’ve cooked and baked). 😉
If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen my #JulietsBakingAdventures posts. If not, here are some of them…
A lot of people ask me for the recipes, but the thing is… I’m what I like to call an “Intuitive Cook”. Translation: I make stuff up as I go along. And that sometimes means I don’t know how to replicate what I’ve made and have to get all “intuitive” again. I used to joke that if I published a cookbook it would be called The Intuitive Cook ~ DIY Recipes, and inside would be photos of the creations with each page blank except for the words: Here is what it should look like, figure it out yourself! 😉 But I’m changing my ways! I’ve started writing down my ingredients and steps, and today I will be sharing with you my PALEO SAVOURY MUFFINS. (Thanks Luke Hines for
demanding encouraging me on Facebook to share the recipe!) 😉
But first…why paleo?
I won’t go into detail in this post (it’s a whole book in itself), but Paleo principles form the majority of my eating regime and lifestyle. Before I became an author I worked as a naturopath and nutritionist with a health science degree in complementary medicine, and was privileged to hear Dr Loren Cordain speak about his paleo research at a conference in Australia several years ago. I was sold. And then chef Pete Evans started creating his own paleo recipes which helped bring the lifestyle into the mainstream. I’ve had great personal success with eating paleo (including 14kg weight loss and overcoming two medical conditions), and when understood and followed properly it makes perfect biological sense to me. Here I am with Pete and Luke at their Paleo Way tour in 2015…
Now, RECIPE TIME!
PALEO SAVOURY MUFFINS:
- gluten free
- dairy free
- grain free
- high fibre
*Why I like them: You can freeze them for a quick breakfast or meal on the go, eat cold or warm, add variations, and they are perfect for when I’m in the writing zone and don’t want to interrupt my muse 😉
The recipe below is the basic recipe, in that you can eat them plain, or add other ingredients for some variation depending on what you like. Although I’ve tried to be as specific as possible with quantities, I’m not so much when it comes to herbs and spices, so use what feels right.
- 1 & 1/4 cup of almond meal
- 1/2 cup tapioca
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons of psyllium husks (adds fibre)
- 4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder (or homemade paleo version)
- 1-2 teaspoons xanthan gum (not essential but use it if you have it)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- sprinkle of pepper
- sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, and a pinch of nutmeg
- sesame seeds – add a good sprinkling (word of the day), however much you prefer, then save some to sprinkle on top of each muffin before baking.
- small bunch of fresh chives, chopped (or use a couple tablespoons of dried)
- 5 organic free-range eggs
- 3/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened & carrageenan-free, or homemade)
- 1/4 cup oil (coconut or olive or macadamia depending on the flavour you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
WHAT TO DO:
*Preheat oven to 180 d/celsius
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork or whisk.
- Mix eggs and apple cider vinegar together briskly with a whisk until it becomes frothy. Then whisk in the almond milk and oil.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture and combine well.
- Add variations* if desired, otherwise spoon chunky blobs of mixture into silicon muffin cases (will fit 12 regular sized muffins, or use a mini muffin pan for a bite-size party food option). Top with extra sesame seeds.
- Bake for around 25 minutes or until firm and golden on top.
- Serve warm as they are, or cut open and spread with a tiny bit of organic ghee if desired. Store in fridge or freeze leftovers.
- Add cooked sweet potato, spinach, and a small handful of pine nuts
- Add cooked chicken and herbs or paleo pesto
- Add smoked salmon, dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Add sautéed chopped onion and organic nitrate-free bacon
If you want to keep updated on my recipes (and of course my books and news), subscribe to the blog (I don’t post ‘too’ often), or follow me on Facebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe at my website.
~ Juliet xo
“Be grateful, not hateful.”
Here’s a fun CHALLENGE for you:
Think back on the year that has passed and on what brought you joy. Write a list of everything you can think of that you’re grateful for from 2015. I did this last year and wrote 100 things. Once you get going, more things come to mind, and they build on each other, and by the end of your list you will feel amazing. Try it! 🙂
But don’t just write 5, or 10, or even 20… Aim high, see if you can get at least 50 or more. At first I didn’t think I could get to 100 but when I did, I could have kept going. Be very specific and break each down into smaller things, for example: “I’m grateful for my family” could be: “I’m grateful for hugs from my children”, “I’m grateful for enriching conversations with my partner”…etc.
Then in the new year, try to maintain the momentum by writing at least 1-3 things each night before bed that you’re grateful for from your day. It could simply be ‘breathing’.
The more grateful you are the more you attract into your life to be grateful for.
If you’ve been through some challenging experiences this year, before starting your grateful list write down the challenges you faced and next to them write what you learned from them, or something positive that came from them. There is always something.
And if you like, share some of the things, people, or experiences you’re grateful for in the comments on this post.
To sum up, here’s what to write in your list or journal:
- 2015 Challenges and what I learned from them, and/or a positive aspect of these challenges:
- My 2015 grateful list (aim for 50 or more):
- Daily gratitude diary (1-3 things each day, or on most days):
Let’s end 2015 in a state of gratitude and joy! 🙂
~ If you like empowering activities like this, there are 100 more in my upcoming inspirational activity and coloring book, COLOR YOUR DREAMS! Published April 2016 by Sourcebooks. Join the group HERE for updates and exclusive content or PREORDER the book.
Thanks to everyone who’s congratulated me on the launch of the first book in my Delta Girls series, SIGHT! If you missed the release day post with all the info & links and photo with my big goofy grin, here it is.
There’s currently a blog tour happening with reviews and posts and giveaways, thanks to tour organiser Me Myshelf And I, and one of the posts is: 10 Random Things About Juliet. So if you’d like to know some slightly weird and random tidbits, head on over to Taking It One Book At A Time! I had a lot of fun writing it. I can’t believe I used the phrase ‘bad grandma’ in there somewhere, not to mention something about dancing in the kitchen and something to do with rapping, which, just so you know, I will not do. Ever.
And there is also an awesome 5/5 review over there for SIGHT. Thanks to Jessica for reading the book and sharing her thoughts! 🙂
Click here to read 10 Random Things About Juliet.
Click here for the links to the other blog tour spots.
~ Juliet xx
Today I’m sharing a quick guest post I did recently on the AusRomToday blog.
What are 10 things you can’t live without? Here are mine:
I wanted to do a different type of blog post for Valentines Day this year, and after being inspired by a couple of articles I read online recently (which I’ll share below), I thought I would write about the one thing that united them – the need for human connection.
Connecting with people is what makes the world go around, our lives are intertwined on a daily basis with those of others, but just how many of those people do you truly connect with? How often do you take the time to delve deeper, to get to know them, to put aside the obligatory small talk and ask questions that really matter? Not only that, but to listen to the answers with genuine interest and understanding?
There is safety in small talk, safety in staying in our comfort zones and not taking risks. But through making an effort to connect, you may just open up a whole new world of possibilities for any area of your life, be it professional or personal.
Life is short. Make connections, and make them count.
~ One of the articles I found interesting was about addiction, and what its likely cause is. Of course there is a physical, biochemical basis for addiction where the body becomes accustomed to something and makes the person keep wanting it, but what studies have found is that both the likelihood of becoming addicted and the success of recovery rely a lot on human bonding, love, and connection. Those with a healthier social environment and happier state of mind are more likely to beat the addiction. But pushing those who are addicted aside, cutting them off, isolating them, is only exacerbating the disconnection fuelling the addiction. What they need is the opposite – human bonding, connection, and unconditional love. And, I believe, this includes a strong sense of identity and connection with themselves, and self love. You can read the article by Johann Hari about how disconnection drives addiction, here.
So with the high prevalence of addiction in society, there is no better time to understand the importance of human connection. It is the glue that holds society together, it is what we as humans all crave whether we want to admit it or not, it is what matters most in life – feeling like we belong, like we are bonded and supported in life, and experiencing the joy and purpose that comes from this.
~ The other article that caught my attention was in the New York Times, and was fascinating and fun to read. The title, To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This by Mandy Len Catron, makes it sound like a lighthearted novelty, but if you read right through to the end you’ll see the depth and beauty of what it is discussing. It talks about a series of 36 questions that have succeeded in making some people fall in love with each other, by bypassing all the usual small talk and getting right to the nitty gritty, exposing vulnerabilities and allowing people to open up to really being ‘seen’ by another. You can read the list of questions yourself to see what it’s all about, or read the full article here.
I think that these questions could be used by anyone, with anyone; friends, family, colleagues, lovers… to connect more deeply with them and create a stronger bond.
It is all about emotional intimacy, or as one of my favourite authors, Neale Donald Walsch calls it: IntoMeSee.
The article on the 36 questions emphasises that love is an action. It is a feeling, a knowing, yes, but it is also an action. Love not acted on will simply exist in a sort of limbo, and the questions used in this study are an example of how a sort of ‘love-based momentum’ can be established which may potentially allow love to blossom. But if it doesn’t, at least not in romantic form, then I believe that each person will at least come away with a greater understanding and appreciation of the other, a greater bond and connection, and that is a great thing.
~ The need for human connection and the value of establishing bonds with others is one of the reasons I love writing fiction that celebrates people’s lives and relationships. We can relate to reading about others who are or have been in similar situations, and it is rewarding to see characters overcome obstacles and challenges to reach a greater sense of wellbeing or ‘happy ending’. It connects us with a sense of hope in our own lives, and although the story may not be true, the emotion behind it is. Fiction can be both an escape from and a reflection of real life, and ironically, one of the most effective ways to hold a mirror up to life and express its truths.
So this Valentines Day, or any day for that matter, I challenge you to make an effort to connect more with others and spread the love around!
- Smile at a stranger. 🙂
- Talk to someone in the street or at a shop (and not about the weather).
- Ask a friend what they’re looking forward to over the next year.
- Do an anonymous act of kindness.
- Give someone flowers, not just on Valentines day, but any day – just because.
- Write a letter to someone you care about . An actual letter. With paper and pen.
- Send your loved one a text message when you’re not with them, just to say ‘I’m thinking about you’.
- Tell people what you appreciate about them. Don’t let compliments go unspoken.
- Tell someone how they’ve inspired you.
- Hug your friends and family. Human touch is vital to wellbeing.
- Shout someone a coffee, sit down with them, and listen attentively as they talk.
- Email an author whose book you’ve enjoyed (hint hint!). 😉
- Call someone for a chat, and ask thoughtful questions.
- Ask an older person to tell you a story about their youth.
- Read out loud to someone you love.
- Write a poem for someone special.
- And if you’re brave enough to try the 36 questions with someone, go for it!
Only a couple of weeks into the new year and already things are getting busy!
Here are 4 pieces of news from my world:
1. I recently found out I’m a finalist in the ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) Awards, so that is pretty exciting! Thanks to those who nominated me. Here are the books and categories I’m in:
- 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS – Best Paranormal
- HAUNTED EVER AFTER – Best Paranormal
- TARRIN’S BAY SERIES (The January Wish, February or Forever) – Best Continuing Series
If you’re an ARRA member, you can vote now. If you’re not, membership is only $20 per year and you can join HERE.
I look forward to attending the awards dinner in Canberra in March! If you’re going, let me know so we can be sure to say hello to each other. 🙂
2. My upcoming Young Adult series, THE DELTA GIRLS, has new release dates…
SIGHT (book #1): July 14th 2015
SOUND (book #2): Oct 13th 2015
With the remaining 3 books releasing soon after, dates TBC. You can follow updates for this book series on twitter at @DeltaGirlsBook
3. It’s only 7 weeks to go until my next book is released! MIRACLE IN MARCH will be available on March 8th. iTunes has a preorder available now for only 99c here.
This book is the 3rd in my bestselling, award-finalling Tarrin’s Bay series. Although part of a linked series, it is also a stand-alone story, so if you haven’t read the others it doesn’t matter, you can start with the March book if you like or you might wish to read THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER first before March is released.
4. I now have a Facebook group for those who’d like to keep up to date with my news as it happens and also interact and chat about important things like books, characters, chocolate…etc. Sometimes fans of Facebook pages don’t see all the updates, so a group is a way to get notified of updates and also to post in the group yourself and chat with other members. You can join here. I’ve also posted the first two chapters of MIRACLE IN MARCH in the group, so join up and have a sneak peek! 🙂
~ Juliet xx
2014 – what a year! Both professionally and personally, my life went through some major changes. On New Years Eve I wrote a list of 100 things (yes, 100!) that I was grateful for and appreciated about my life in 2014. I thought I’d just do about 20, but then I kept going and thought, ‘okay, maybe I’ll do 50’, but then I wrote 51, and 52 and kept going and thought, ‘what the heck – 100 here I come!’ 🙂 Appreciation brings more appreciation, it’s like a domino effect. Why not try it and see what makes it onto your list? It’s a great way to lift your spirits and feel good. 🙂
Here’s a brief summary of what happened in 2014, both on the blog, and with my writing…
- Most viewed blog post with over 2000 views: How I Write Fast (AKA: How I Wrote 70ks in 20 Days).
- Most people found my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Most blog visitors came from the USA. Followed by Australia and the UK.
- My top 5 commenters were: Nancy Goldberg Levine, Kerrie Paterson, Linda Lee Williams, Jenn J McLeod, and Margareta. Thanks guys! 🙂
- Search terms people used which led them to my blog (some normal, some weird and funny!): johnny castle making out, how to come up with a pen name, magical books, spit free birthday cake, rude characters, women looking for romanic (did they mean a romaniac?!), big bang theory, marketing tips, is sarah belle wealthy, romantic excerpts… and a few other things that I won’t mention!
- Wrote 4 complete books and 2 partials (a few chapters and synopsis): Complete: Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas, Miracle in March, Sound (The Delta Girls book 2). Partials: Vintage Secret, You Know you Want To.
- 4 Books published: The January Wish, February or Forever, Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas.
- First book in print: The January Wish was included in the 3-in-1 coastal compilation called Time For The Beach, available in Australian stores now.
- Signed a 5 book deal (ebook & print) with Diversion Books for my Young Adult supernatural mystery series The Delta Girls!
- My first novel, Fast Forward became an Amazon.com Top 100 bestseller
- Attended the ARRA Awards Dinner as a finalist in the favourite New Author category
- Attended my first ARRA book signing as an author (I signed postcards!), while at the RWA annual conference in Sydney.
And now for 2015! What’s next, and what my plans and goals are…
>>Book Releases (this will be updated as things progress):
- March 8th, 2015: MIRACLE IN MARCH (Tarrin’s Bay series book 3)
- May 12th, 2015: SIGHT (The Delta Girls series* book 1)
- *There should be a couple more books in The Delta Girls series released later in the year but I don’t have a schedule yet)
As you can see, the majority of the year will be taken up with the launch of my Young Adult 5 book series!
- Write the remaining 3 books in The Delta Girls series by end of August 2015 (I have deadlines!).
- Write April’s Glow, the 4th book in my Tarrin’s Bay series by around end of October 2015.
- Do further work on my women’s fiction project, Vintage Secret.
- And if I get superhero powers and have more time available I will work further on my fun and flirty romcom You Know You Want To, or a short novella, and speaking of superpowers… at some stage down the track I will be writing a superhero romantic comedy and it’s going to be so much FUN 😉
I’d like to thank my readers for supporting my books, and I’m looking forward to having a wonderful year of writing!
To keep updated, I’ve created a new Facebook Readers group… If you’d like to join, HERE is the link.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and joyful 2015!! 🙂