Category Archives: Life
Return to Centre…
Want To Feel More Balanced, Grounded, Peaceful, and Happy in Your Daily Life?
This brand new spiritual self care program from author and coach Juliet Madison will help you return to your true self, harness your inner power, and maintain peace throughout any challenge, via 44 weekly ‘centring’ processes; guiding and supporting you throughout 2019…
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am excited to share this with you… for the past six months since I had surgery to remove a vital organ, I have been working on something behind the scenes, whenever inspiration strikes, but not really knowing what it was. I thought at first I was journalling; jotting down thoughts and words to help me through a difficult time, and yet, these words seemed to come through me not from me.
So maybe I was writing a book. Another book. And maybe it will be a book eventually, but as the words kept coming effortlessly and I found myself not even having to think about what I was writing, I realised I was channeling insight and guidance from… somewhere. Perhaps the collective universal consciousness that ties us all together. It felt similar to the process of doing intuitive readings and coaching for clients around the world, where I tap into their energy and pinpoint areas of significance or answer their burning questions, but this time I was reading myself… at first.
Then as these insights began to help me regain my sense of peace, I realised they could help others too, and when I decided to open myself up to receiving more insight, it flowed even more, and in a way that I felt I was tapping into a universal need, a core, unified link between us all that needs to be nourished and supported… A ‘centre’ within ourselves and within the earth and universe itself, that we can sometimes stray from during life, but that can be accessed and returned to. We can return to this centre, where healing, hope, harmony, and peace resides. And this program is the result. What started as a way for me to cope with a challenging time, soon became a way for me to reach others, united by our spirit and human need for connection and peace within ourselves.
Centring is an ongoing journey, not a destination, and I’d like to invite you to share this journey with me in 2019…
First, what is Centring, or being Centred?
Being centred is the ultimate in self care… it’s about being tuned into your core self, your true spiritual and energetic nature where there is no judgement, no pain, and no fear. For want of a better explanation, it’s like heaven on the inside. It feels balanced, it feels peaceful, it feels confident, it feels well. It’s knowing you can say, “I’ve got this” no matter what is going on. Regardless of your religious beliefs or affiliation, we all have this inner core, this soul part of ourselves where our true, unlimited nature resides, that is not only part of us but part of all of us, together, united, as a whole. By being centred yourself, you also help others to more easily return to their centre too.
Why is Returning to Centre important?
Centring is the foundation of peace, alignment, and manifestation. It tunes us into our source, which is love, and which shines a light to our authentic self so that we are supported throughout any challenge, and allowed to be the best and happiest version of ourselves.
Returning to Centre works from the inside out. Instead of trying to fix all your outside or external circumstances that are not the way you’d like them in an attempt to feel better about your life, you aim to feel better on the inside first so that it doesn’t matter what is going on around you. And do you know what often happens when you are centred and aligned on the inside? The outside circumstances often shift anyway, seemingly by themselves! Our true power is not in influencing things around us, but by returning to ourselves, which allows the power of the universe to manage all those external things. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take external action, or make changes, it is simply to emphasise where your true power lies. And when you know this, everything else is work-out-able.
No matter what is going on around you, you CAN feel centred and grounded, and at peace. If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, time-poor, tired or unwell, held back from your goals and dreams, you feel no one understands you, or you feel too ‘sensitive’ to handle modern life, centring can help.
It’s not about hiding your feelings, or being positive 100% of the time… feelings should be experienced and expressed. It’s about having a continual connection to that special part of you, that centre, that holds you up through everything you go through.
When centred, manifestations happen more quickly, easily, and in alignment with your true self and what is best for you, because you’re operating from the highest vibration of yourself. When you’re in this state, everything that happens is right for you. Everything. Even the challenges. Centring allows you to not be afraid of challenges that are a normal part of life, but to know that all is well.
In life, we want the great job, the amazing partner, the perfect holiday, the house, good health and longevity, the book deal, the lotto win, etc, because it’s normal and human to desire things that we think will make us feel good. But what if you could feel good, or better, regardless of what you have or don’t have? And what if by feeling better within FIRST, those things you want come to you more easily?
This is what can happen, and often happens… this is the power of RETURNING TO CENTRE.
February 14 to December 20, 2019
Think of me as your spiritual life coach for 2019… not a guru, not a master, simply a guide. To teach this material that has helped me, and to help you integrate it joyfully into daily life. It is YOU that has the power, you are your own guru, and I’d love to be the guide and witness to your inner light and power shining through.
What does this 44 week program include?
Starting on Valentines Day, as a gift of love to yourself, you will enjoy…
- 44 inspiring weekly teachings posted in our private Facebook group every Sunday.
- 44 ‘return to centre’ strategies and activities, one to focus on each week. Depending on the nature of the activity, these may either be something you can do in an instant, or done at a later time, or integrated into your days as life unfolds.
- Monthly group intuitive card reading for extra insight, guidance, and focus.
- Discussion with myself and other participants, and answers to questions relating to each weekly topic.
- Weekly follow-ups to check in on how the activity for the week went for you.
- A safe space without pressure or expectations, to talk, express, ask questions, and have your self care supported and celebrated.
- Surprise gifts and giveaways 🙂
- The opportunity for individual, private intuitive readings for your specific needs.
- A downloadable PDF of all the teachings and activities at the end of the course, for future reference to use again as needed throughout your life.
- The opportunity to contribute your experiences and feedback to be published, should this material be made into a book in future! 😉
As you move through your day to day life, my intention is that you will be able to recall and utilise these strategies as needed to help you through anything life throws at you, or simply to maximise your wellbeing and happiness and support you in living a wonderful, miraculous, joy-filled existence!
Let’s do this together…
Why trust me with your spiritual self care?
My mission, or calling in life, is “entertaining and inspiring myself and others through stories, art, and self empowerment”. That is a broad description that I feel sums it up succinctly. After I left my successful career as a naturopath to homeschool my son with special needs, I have written over 20 books of both fiction and non-fiction, with 17 published so far in the last six years, and have written and facilitated numerous courses and workshops both online and in person. As well as writing, teaching, and creating art, I also do ‘readings’ as an intuitive guide and spiritual mentor, assisting clients with their life questions and future predictions. My aim in this area is to help people feel reassured, confident, and positive about their life and future, and with this course, it is to help you with the awareness and tools to return to your true self and inner peace and power at any time.
I practise what I preach, and I will be as much a student of this course as you will be, so I see it as a partnership, a team journey, where the collective energy and support of the participants will create something even more wonderful than planned. 🙂
“I would highly recommend working with Juliet, as her valuable insight and advice will help direct you onto the right life path.” ~ Marie
“She hit the nail right on the head, she definitely has a gift of insight.” ~ Bonnie
“Very quickly and with barely any information, Juliet intuited to-the-point information regarding my next career steps and how they related to my life overall. Even more impressive, she provided a specific vision of what was going on with a friend coping with cancer. Juliet’s insights helped me to provide targeted support for my friend without my friend having to struggle to verbalize her journey.” ~ Amy
“Juliet did a distance reading for me and all I can say is WOW. The reading was so accurate.” ~ Karen
“Most of everything you told me months ago has finally come full circle. I can’t believe it, and I just wanted to say thank you so much!” ~ Carol
When you make a conscious decision to keep returning to centre, the universe responds to your commitment by committing to you too. It shows you more people, places, and things that will commit to you. It lines you up with experiences that match the high vibration that you’re radiating… it’s magical. 🙂
To take part in this program with 44 weeks of guidance and strategies and personal support from me, it is only $10 a week; a total of $440 for the whole year. However, because 4 is my favourite number and I want it to be as affordable for as many as possible, until February 10th I am going to reduce the fee to only $4 a week, which is less than a cup of coffee! So for the whole program, from February 14 to December 20, your investment is only $176. Most of my courses that last for a weekend or up to two weeks are around the $50-$150 mark, so for a whole year of mentoring, don’t miss this extra special deal! Sign up before Feb 10th for only $176, or one of the other options below, and if you’re one of the first ten people I’ll also give you a BONUS free email reading which is equivalent to a 15 minute/1 question reading, valued at $44!
If you like, you can also select the 2nd option below which includes not only the program, but also four email intuitive readings to use anytime throughout the year at more than 50% off. Each reading is done via email and is equivalent to about 15 minutes, and includes 1 question answered about anything specific in your life. You can use these all at once for four questions in total, or spread them out through the year.
And with the 3rd option you get everything above, plus a full chakra reading, which is a special type of reading (valued at $99) that provides you with a visual chart showing the percentage each of your chakras/energy centres in the body are functioning at, along with a description of how that is impacting your body, mind, and spirit, your emotional profile, and physical issues you may be prone to, and how to get closer to balance, and to centre, through a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual tools. A perfect accompaniment to this course.
So, without further ado,
Let’s get centred!
> To register, simply choose one of the options below and click ‘buy now’… you will receive a confirmation email instantly, and a link to join the online group where the program will take place.
OPTION 1: RETURN TO CENTRE 44 week online program:
$440 $176 AUD one time payment (save $268).
OPTION 2: RETURN TO CENTRE 44 week online program PLUS 4 email readings:
$616 $255 AUD one time payment (save $361).
OPTION 3: RETURN TO CENTRE 44 week online program PLUS 4 email readings PLUS chakra reading:
$715 $333 AUD one time payment (save $382).
I look forward to helping support your spiritual self care, for a happy, balanced, peaceful, authentic, miraculous and magical 2019!
How Becoming A Writer Helped Me Become Myself…
Today is the 5th anniversary of being a published author. It’s my publishaversary! 😀
(Psst! Keep reading to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a signed copy of one of my books, and a journal… 🙂 )
It’s days like this that make you think back on your journey and how far you’ve come…
Since my first book, FAST FORWARD, was published in 2013, 16 more books have followed, and 4 anthologies/collections (see my BOOKS page for all the details). I’ve written romantic comedy, women’s fiction and coastal/small town romance, young adult supernatural mystery, and self help. I love diversity, and writing different genres helps me to feel creatively fulfilled.
I’ve learned a lot over the past five years of being in the industry (and also my eight years of writing), about writing itself, the editing and publishing process, cover design, marketing, and have experienced all the ups and downs including getting new contracts, getting an agent, getting rejections, getting good reviews and bad reviews, having the genres I choose to write both celebrated and ridiculed, and being both on time and behind with deadlines… the writing life is definitely a rollercoaster! I’ve also come to teach what I’ve learned by running online courses and doing coaching and critiquing for other writers, with Writing Mojo Academy.
But today, I want to write about something else:
How Becoming A Writer Helped Me Become Myself…
I’ve been reading a lot about authenticity lately, about the courage to be yourself, and coming into awareness of who you really are. Writing has, I feel, helped me to find my authentic voice, both in my writing and in my personal life, and discover and create who I really am.
When I think back to that person I was when I first opened a word document and wrote, Chapter One, she is so different to the person I now am.
My writing journey started when another journey had ended… my successful career as a naturopath, online health coach, and business owner. It didn’t end in a bad way, my circumstances simply changed, and with them, I had to change. My priorities had shifted, and deciding to put the wellbeing of my son first, I left my career, took him out of school, and facilitated his high school education myself through distance learning (a form of homeschooling, done through a high school). This decision not only helped him (he is now 21 and has not only written a couple of novels himself, but is pursuing a career in acting and also photography), but it also helped me, even though I felt guilty leaving my patients behind and wondering how on earth I was now going to pay my bills.
It was when this change began that I started reading again, never having had much time for it unless it was a medical or health book, or a research manual. I got back into fiction, and then ideas started to form in my mind. I would like to try writing a book… I think I can do it… I just want to know what it feels like to write a complete novel… thoughts roamed around my head, until that day I wrote ‘Chapter One’. From that moment on, I never stopped. I found my passion, my calling; to be a storyteller and to bring entertainment and inspiration to other people.
But I had no idea at the time that my writing journey would become an intensely personal journey of self-discovery.
When I started, I was undergoing immense change from being a successful working single mother, to a stay at home single mother homeschooling a child with special needs. I became isolated. Lonely. Withdrawn. I had also started developing a health issue that continued for many years, and for the next five years or so, every day was a struggle just to get by. To have the energy to get through the school lessons. To do the household chores. Even the grocery shopping took all my energy and effort for the day. But still I wrote. Writing became my outlet, my therapy …my healing.
I had loved working in the health field and was a confident and highly-regarded practitioner, but inside, I was struggling to understand and accept who I was as a person. An individual. A woman. Not only a mother or a practitioner. I hadn’t yet become aware of the fullness or truth of my identity. In some ways, I was scared to be myself.
Writing gave me a voice.
It gave me confidence.
It gave me self-expression.
Through my characters I dealt with life’s challenges, I found ways to understand things that had happened to me, I processed my emotions through my character’s emotions, and I enjoyed the thrill of my characters’ experiences.
By creating new lives through the art of fiction, I created my own new life.
I was not only becoming a writer, I was becoming myself. My true self, that until then, hadn’t been fully expressed.
And when I became published, I became heard. I hadn’t felt truly ‘heard‘ before. This was both exciting and scary, but the more I found out that readers enjoyed my books, the more confident I became, in my writing, and in myself.
Writing books, meeting other writers, reading their books, and immersing myself in this wonderful world of words, made me feel like I had found people who ‘got’ me. Who I could relate to. And I developed many new friendships as a result.
The more and more I wrote, the more and more my life started to become something resembling a novel! Sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking. My career blossomed, and so did I. I started connecting with more and more people, trying new experiences, enjoying greater health by finally looking after myself and not just my patients, and ‘came out of my shell’. I even got a tattoo! …Something I had never thought I would do, but as I became more aware of my own essence, I wanted to express it, and as an artist as well, this was one way that felt right. It made me feel more ‘me’.
I am proud to stand confident and say I am a creative, motivated, determined, intuitive, resourceful, and kind person. A mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a partner, a writer, and a woman.
It is always a process, and sometimes it’s not easy; learning more about yourself and coming to love and accept yourself and be confident with who you are, but I am there. My words, and the 19 books I’ve written so far helped me get there. They helped me tune into my own authenticity and personal power, and to finally be able to say, ‘It’s okay to be me, just as I am.’
Thank you for reading.
Love, Juliet xo
To enter to win a signed copy of my latest book, THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT; a journal of transformation through the art of letter writing, please visit my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the GIVEAWAY post! And to stay tuned for more giveaways coming up this month, select ‘get notifications’ on my page to make sure you are notified when I post on Facebook.
I’ll draw the winner on Feb 8th. Contest open INTERNATIONALLY.
MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE…
As a new year begins I always look back to the year before to see how my life is progressing and to celebrate achievements and special moments.
Some things were expected, others were unexpected, all of them I am grateful for.
Here are 7 highlights from my 2015, followed by something brand new I’m launching today! It involves 7 things to help YOU make your dreams come true in 2016 🙂
- 4 book releases! Not only was the 3rd book in my Tarrin’s Bay series, MIRACLE IN MARCH released, but also the first 2 books in my new Young Adult series, THE DELTA GIRLS. This story idea about five psychic sisters came to me about five years ago, and it was so rewarding to finally see it in print, and also hear it in audio, as the audio rights were sold to Audible. Also, my novel FEBRUARY OR FOREVER was included in the MORE TIME FOR THE BEACH 3-in-1 anthology which is available in Australian stores now. Something I’ve learned from all of this… I need more bookcases or a bigger house 😉
- ARRA award finalist! I drove down to Canberra to attend the Australian Romance Readers Association awards dinner where I was thrilled to be a finalist in the favourite paranormal category with HAUNTED EVER AFTER and 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS, and the favourite continuing series with my Tarrin’s Bay series. A highlight of the night was wearing silly hats and making silly faces with friends in the photobooth!
- Unexpected book deal! In early May, after hearing about how hot adult colouring books were, I pulled out some sketches I had been doodling just for fun which contained positive words. I was going to paint these onto canvases, but then I wondered if I could make a colouring book using the same concept. So I came up with a proposal and a few designs, as well as ideas for empowering activity pages to accompany them, and sent them off to my agent. Rejections came in, but by the end of the month I had a book deal with Sourcebooks USA! COLOR YOUR DREAMS releases April 2016.
- Writing, writing, and more writing! As well as The Delta Girls series being released into the world, I still had to write the remaining 3 books in the series, each with tight deadlines. Somehow, after late nights, my trusty writing sprint timer, and sheer determination, I completed the final book just before Christmas. The remaining 3 books all release in 2016. And somehow among all of that and creating my colouring book, I also wrote the 4th Tarrin’s Bay book, APRIL’S GLOW, which I absolutely loved writing and will release this year too.
- My first proper holiday! I didn’t have time for a holiday, but I took one anyway. Apart from going away for conferences and a few brief family trips here and there when my son was young, I had never actually been on a proper holiday as a grown woman! It was about time. So with the help and encouragement from some friends, I let go of all the guilt and thoughts that I should save my money for living expenses and bills, and took the plunge. I invested in my own wellbeing to have a blissful, indulgent, restorative one week stay at Gaia Retreat, Byron Bay, a place I have always wanted to visit. It was an amazing, healing experience, and I really felt like a new woman when I returned!
- Good health! The holiday came at the right time, because a week after I returned I was due to get some important test results after a year of bi-monthly blood tests, scans, and a biopsy for a couple of different health concerns. I went in for that crucial test feeling positive and healthy, and my results reflected that. Which meant I was able to avoid surgery and stay off the medication that I had needed for five years, and reduce my checkups to six months apart. My body was, and still is, healing itself, and I felt such relief. (By the way, I attribute this to a healthier change in diet (paleo), exercise and meditation, natural medicine, and some mindset strategies I will talk about at the end of this post).
- Connecting with others! It was one of my 2015 intentions to connect more with others and experience more joy and fun in my personal life, and that I did. I’m so grateful for the likeminded friends I’ve made who make my life extra special.
All of this doesn’t mean everything was perfect in 2015. Nope, I had moments and days where I felt like crap. Felt like giving up. Times when things didn’t work out the way I wanted or hoped. I felt sad, worn out, frustrated, scared, nervous, angry, disappointed, misunderstood. But I’ve learned that those days and moments pass and you always have the power and the choice to bring yourself back to a place of positivity and gratitude, and that is the place where miracles happen. If you can look back on your year, see the light and joy through any tears that blurred your vision, and end the year with a smile on your face and excitement for the future, then that is a life worth living.
In 2016, there will be more books, more writing, more surprises, more ups and downs like the above, as that is life. But there will also be ‘more’…more dreams fulfilled, more plans made, more goals to strive towards. And, I’ve decided, more JOY (my word for the year). Because life is a gift and I plan to make the most of it.
I believe living a great life comes down to following your heart and your passions, taking inspired action aligned with your passions, being consistent and persistent, knowing your priorities and setting healthy boundaries, and, probably most importantly; believing in yourself and in the idea that anything and everything is possible. This is the fun part. When you believe in that, life becomes exciting. And to maximize this belief, each year I do 7 specific processes to help make dreams and intentions come true, and make progress towards my goals…
As I was working on these 7 processes at the beginning of January, I kept having to write post-it notes to myself to remind myself of what to do next, and I had a thought… Other people could benefit from these processes I use. So I carved out some time and wrote out all my processes, and in a flurry of inspiration I created a 70 page document with guidelines, tips, practical instructions and templates…and a fun, practical, inspiring program was born!
I was going to call it something fancy like The Life Creation System, or 7 Tools to Change Your Life, but then I thought… hang on, it’s kind of like a life kickstart; a kick in the ass to take inspired action in your life. Then I thought… screw it, I’m calling it the Kickass Kickstart! 🙂
So there you have it, if you want to give your 2016 a kickass kickstart, then try the 7 processes in my new program and let me know how they work for you! Some of them you may have heard of, or even used, and some maybe not. But even if you have, each has been modified (or Julietified?) with advanced techniques to maximize their potential. And all 7 work together to get your year, or any new phase of your life, off to a great start.
In the program I’ve created you’ll learn how to make a vision board that works, and a lesser known tool called the vision box. There are processes involving the power of gratitude, and a fun variation on a bucket list. You’ll give New Year’s Resolutions the flick and learn how to create New Year’s (or any time of year) Intentions, how to come up with a meaningful word for the year and embrace it in your life, plus a powerful creative process to bring the energy of your intentions to life to help them become reality. There’s also help with turning challenges into opportunities, and a process, tips, and resources to help you commit to yourself and your intentions and to maintain your positive state of mind throughout the year.
Kickass Kickstart is available as an instant download PDF with printable worksheets (I mean, FUNsheets!), and to celebrate the launch I’ve made it available at a special discount. Get started HERE!
I wish you all the best for the coming year, and I can’t wait to hear about the amazing 2016 you’ve created for yourself!
~ Juliet xo
New Year Gratitude Challenge
“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.
MY TEN MUST-HAVES
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:
The Need for Human Connection and Love
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.
On Valentines Day people think about romantic connection, but I challenge you to also think beyond that, to think about love in all its forms; love for oneself, for other people, and life itself.
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!
Deadlines, Dangers, & Delta Girls!
It has been a busy month or so, hence my lack of posts on the blog recently. It seems the letter of the month is: D, so let me fill you in on what’s been happening in my world…
My third Tarrin’s Bay novel, Miracle in March, was due on 30th September. I sent it in on d-day, at 11pm. Phew! Now, fingers crossed it doesn’t suck. 😉
While writing this book I also had edits to do on 12 Daves of Christmas, attended the RWA writers conference, and if you’ve read my last post, dealt with the excitement of signing a 5 book deal for my YA series (see Delta Girls below). There was so much happening at once, my brain felt like it had several internet browser tabs open all at once! Oh, I also got injured. Read on…
Two days before my book was due, the universe decided it wanted me to take some time out. It didn’t seem to care that I had a book to finish, nah-ah. It thought, ‘Juliet needs to take a break, but she just won’t tear herself away from the computer. What shall we do? I know! Let’s throw her down the stairs.’
Down I went.
At 1:30am on a Monday.
10 steps to be exact.
An overweight cat in my arms and fluffy bedsocks on my feet probably didn’t help matters.
My son came out of his room and just looked at me strangely as I lay in a heap on the stairs.
“Aren’t you going to help me?” I asked, panting from getting the air knocked out of me.
“I thought you were just killing a spider or something,” he replied.
Apparently I must make a lot of noise when I’m in spider-slaying mode. He soon realized I was hurt and helped me walk back upstairs (the cat was hiding under a chair at this point, looking at me wide-eyed and wary like I was some psychotic person who enjoys freaking the crap out of furry domestic creatures just for fun). He got me a drink of juice (my son, not the cat), which was nice. But I had to get my own ice pack.
I discovered during my fall that the brain can think of many different things in only a second or two. The old ‘life flashing before your eyes’ thing. Okay, I knew I would probably survive the ordeal, but in that second or two when I had no control and was in pain and couldn’t stop myself falling, it was pretty scary. I thought such things as: Will my son remember how to call emergency? Does he remember our address? Will I get a head injury? Will I break a bone? And I even had time to think: Oh crap, will I still be able to finish my book in two days?!
Thankfully I landed, though with a bump to my arm, which went suddenly numb and weak. I hurt EVERYWHERE, and to make things interesting, I only had one packet of frozen vegetables to use as first aid. Despite this, I managed to get some nice, large, black bruises, and strained muscles. I also got scratched by my cat, and even broke a fingernail. Ouch. Okay, so the fingernail didn’t hurt, but damn it I had just grown my other ones long enough to match. 😉
I discovered that being in pain is good for the vocabulary – it’s amazing how many new swear word combinations one can come up with while trying to roll over in bed when every muscle is screaming at you to be still, or after sneezing and pulling your damaged shoulder tendon to the point that it feels like there’s a knife in your back! Three weeks later my shoulder is still causing pain, so I’m getting a cortisone injection soon to kick inflammation’s ass. Silver lining of all this – I couldn’t do housework for a week.
If you missed my post about my Young Adult book deal, here it is. After signing my contract and filling out various forms for my publisher, I started plotting and writing the second book in The Delta Girls series. The first book, SIGHT, will begin edits soon and will be releasing on May 12th 2015, with each book following soon after. The second book, SOUND, is taking shape and I’m very excited about the story. I’m remembering how much I love writing YA. I find the voice easy to slip into and especially as it’s told in first person, I’m finding it fascinating to get inside the mind of another character.
This book is due at the end of December, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that two days before the deadline I will remember to not carry my overweight cat down the stairs while wearing fluffy socks. 😉
…With all these D words, I think I should end the blog post on a positive note, so here are some random, positive words starting with D. Can you think of any more? If so, leave them in the comments!
Dreams, destiny, dancing, dinner, delicious, drinks, dessert, diamonds, decadent, dashing, Dracula’s muscles (well, have you seen them?). 😉
Books, bling, and buddies – my weekend in Sydney
After dealing with a flooded garage at home due to heavy rain here on the south coast of NSW, I’m finally taking off the gumboots (or galoshes, or rain boots…whatever you like to call them!) to do a quick post about my weekend visit to Sydney! 😉
On Friday I visited the place where all the bookish magic happens – the Harlequin Australia headquarters in North Sydney. They have really nice, red light-shades hanging from the ceiling there. Just sayin’. 😉 Of course, I wasn’t there to inspect their decor (though, as I studied interior decorating in a past life I do tend to notice these things!). I was there to meet with my publishers and discuss present and future books. How exciting! My first visit to a publishing house. 🙂
Escape Publishing is the digital arm of Harlequin Australia and have published my first five books (which you can see here). It was great to meet some of the staff I hadn’t yet met, and chat about marketing and promotional strategies, book titles and plots, the often back-and-forth process of designing the perfect cover, and also some new and exciting things happening later this year which I’ll reveal when I’m allowed! I’m grateful to be with such an innovative and supportive publisher.
On Saturday I attended the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) awards dinner. Two years ago I attended the awards dinner as an aspiring author; a little starstruck around these wonderful established authors who were winning awards, and this year I was there as not only an a published author but a finalist in the Favourite New Author category! Though I didn’t win (congrats to Anna Cowan!), I was thrilled to be nominated and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. 🙂 You can see the full list of award winners in the different categories HERE. Congrats to everyone! I love seeing fellow writers achieve milestones like this. And thanks to ARRA for putting on a great night and coordinating these awards. if you’re not yet a member, what are you waiting for? It’s not expensive and there are great perks. All the info on joining is HERE.
So it was a weekend of books, bling, and buddies. Books to write and publish, bling at the awards dinner (including a bling-off contest for the person with the best bling), and catching up with writing buddies and meeting new ones. I would add ‘yummy food’ to the mix but it doesn’t start with B. But there was yummy food involved too. 😉
2014 is shaping up to be a great year… so far I’ve had two back-to-back releases to kickstart my new Tarrin’s Bay series of coastal romance/women’s fiction novels; THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER. I’ve completed a new romagic comedy manuscript (HAUNTED EVER AFTER) and handed it in to my publisher, and was thrilled to have seen my first book FAST FORWARD make the Top 100 on Amazon recently. What’s next? Soon I’ll be starting to write a Christmas novella, and then I’ll move on to writing the third book in my TB series, MIRACLE IN MARCH (tentative title!). I’m looking forward to both, and looking forward to the rest of the year. I LOVE my writing life! Housework and cleaning up flooded garages…not so much 😉
Now, where did I put those gumboots?…
Today, April 14th, is my birthday so I thought I’d do a birthday-themed blog post! It’s especially fitting because my debut novel, FAST FORWARD, which was released a couple of months ago, takes place mostly over one day – the main character’s birthday.
Young, hip, and gorgeous Kelli, from Fast Forward, is getting ready to celebrate her 25th birthday, but she wakes up to the birthday present of her nightmares – she’s jumped ahead to the future and is a 50 year old flabby, wrinkly, housewife, married to the nerd she used to tease in high school. Not only that, she has two grown children she doesn’t recognise, a daggy best friend, she has to give an important business presentation of which she knows nothing about, and she has no idea how to get back to her old, I mean, young life.
I’m glad to say I’ve never had a birthday as challenging or memorable as Kelli’s, but I’ve had a lot of good ones! (The photo of the chocolates on the plate was taken at a restaurant for my birthday a couple of years ago).
At my thirtieth I had a fancy dress costume party with a 70’s and 80’s theme. Guests had to come dressed as someone from either of those decades. I dressed as a psychedelic chick with straight hair parted in the middle and wore white flared pants and a multicoloured top, and my son dressed as Michael Jackson in the afro stage, complete with black shoes with white socks. A couple of my cousins around the same age as me dressed as girls from the eighties with lovely teased fringes (bangs, for my US friends), ponytails, and lovely eighties clothes and jewellery. We hired a juke-box to play music from those eras, and it was a lot of fun!
This birthday, I received a fantastic early present just a few days ago – an offer of publication from Escape Publishing for my romantic comedy novella, I DREAM OF JOHNNY! (More news on that later on). Now that’s memorable 🙂
I decided to ask a few facebook friends about their birthday memories, and here are their responses:
My best birthday memory was for one of those horrible ones with an 0 on the end. My family decided to treat me to a ‘ride on a Harley’ as I’d been rabitting on about it. I was collected from the house and driven right around the Gold Coast on this wonderful Harley motorbike, letting rip with whoops of joy as we zoomed around the roads. It was amazing. My ‘driver’ was a hoot and totally entered into the spirit of the thing, but a very good driver.
My mother was the archetypal feminist and she vetoed a series of dodgy presents from my wish lists over the years. Like the time I wanted a bride doll, and I got a Basil Brush puppet. Or the time I wanted Pretty in Pink Barbie, and got a budgie. All that changed when I was 12. I got some birthday money, and raced out to purchase Golden Dream Barbie. I brought her home, unwrapped her carefully, and discovered that I was kind of too old for Barbies by then anyway.
The weirdest thing is, 37 years later, my daughter has more Barbies than you could pack into a Barbie camper (mostly hand-me-downs from older cousins). And what does she want, more than anything in the world? A budgie. Go figure!!
I won a novel writing competition with the prize of publication.
The book was scheduled to come out a few days after my birthday but when I mentioned that the publisher managed to bring it forward so it came out on my birthday (30 March last year).
Don’t think a writer could have a better birthday present than a copy of their first published novel.
I spent my 40th birthday alone and homesick, having just moved to the UK for a few years. I took a rowdy early-morning call from friends back home while I was in the dining room of a Scarborough hotel I’m sure was the model for Fawlty Towers, with shades of Mr Bean’s holiday hotel thrown in. The elderly hotel guests were tutting over their baked beans and kippers as this hysterical Australian woman howled with laughter (and a few tears) into the phone. At least the horror of the hotel eased the horror of turning 40!
What was your most memorable birthday?
Now, I’m off to celebrate, eat some yummy food, and blow out the 25 candles on my cake (ha! I wish! Oops, you have to be careful what you wish for). 😉
MY LITTLE PART OF AUSTRALIA [Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!]
I’m excited to be part of the Book’d Out Australia Day Blog Hop! I, along with many other Australian bloggers and authors are running giveaways between Jan 25th and Jan 28th to celebrate Australia and the Australian writing community, so be sure to check out all the other blogs participating too – you could win lots of prizes! I’m giving away a $20 Amazon gift voucher and an ebook copy of my short story SISTERS AT HEART, a heartwarming tale set in the small Australian town of Tarrin’s Bay (fictional, but based on where I live… read more about that below).
MY LITTLE PART OF AUSTRALIA:
I moved from the mountains to the sea two years ago, and in a way, I feel like I’m on holidays ALL THE TIME. Not that I sit about relaxing all day – far from it! – but the location, my surroundings, the atmosphere, it has that magical holiday feel.
I live in a town called Kiama on the south coast of New South Wales. Every morning I step out on my balcony and gaze at the ocean, watching the waves crash against the headland and breathing in the fresh, salty air. I love it. And I love the surrounding towns too.
Here are some other things I love about my little part of Australia…
~ The people – Everyone is so friendly, from the stranger saying hello while out walking to the customer service with a smile at one of the many shops. There’s a real sense of community spirit and united appreciation for this beautiful place.
~ The landscape – We are lucky to have both a scenic coastline with beautiful beaches and also a vast rural landscape of lush green hills and farmland. It’s country and coast combined. Many tourists come to visit our two popular blowholes and stand by with cameras at the ready to capture the sudden, huge splurge of water shooting through the rocks from the ocean below.
~ The climate – Although we get some really cold days in winter and some really hot days in summer (45°C last week!), most of the time the weather sits in the perfect early to mid 20’s. I love that it’s not usually as hot as up north and I love that it’s not as cold as the mountains where I used to live (and needed gloves, thermals, two pairs of socks, and a heavy layer of blankets that required super human strength to lift off in the morning!). It’s a nice ‘in-between’ type of climate.
~ The best of both worlds – Being the first country town south of Sydney, it has that homely small town feel – no high rises, no major shopping centres, no McDonald’s…etc, while still offering all the conveniences of modern society.
~ The events – There is always something to do, especially on weekends (Kiama is a popular tourist destination – it is packed in January!). The seaside markets are always popular… I love strolling around the harbour and looking at all the arts, crafts, jewellery, books, food, and other interesting finds while watching the sunlight shimmer on the ocean. There are jazz festivals, arts festivals, surfing competitions, a local show with fireworks, New Years Eve celebrations, and a wonderful Christmas carols in the park each year.
Have I convinced you to move here yet? If there’s no chance of that you can still enjoy this special place through my upcoming series of novels set in the fictional town of Tarrin’s Bay, which I’ve based on Kiama and other surrounding towns. Watch this space! And you can read a bit about this series on my ‘books’ page. Remember to subscribe to the blog to keep updated on news.
And now for the giveaway…
>>To WIN a $20 Amazon gift voucher and an ebook copy of my short story SISTERS AT HEART, leave a comment below and answer the following question:
‘What do you love about Australia? Or if you’re not an Aussie, why do you want to visit Australia?’
*Competition open worldwide and closes at midnight 28th January. Winner will be announced in this post and notified via email.
And don’t forget, once you’ve left a comment, go check out the list of other blogs participating in this Australia Day Blog Hop at Book’d Out and Confessions from Romaholics.
Good luck, and ‘av a happy Austraya Day! 😉