modern-day-miracles

Big news people - I’ve been published in the new Louise Hay book, Modern-Day Miracles: Miraculous Moments and Extraordinary Stories from People All Over the World Whose Lives Have Been Touched by Louise L. Hay.

This very exciting news came about a month ago, but there’s been a lot going on in my life (will fill you in next post), so  haven’t had a chance to tell you all until now.

The book has writings from Louise as well as a collection of personal stories from people around the world whose lives have been transformed or taken on new meaning since working with Louise Hay’s teachings. My excerpt is in the Transforming Old Beliefs chapter.

If you ever saw the blog post I wrote on Louise Hay for Jenny Mannion’s Heroes of Healing group writing project, you’ll know Louise is the closest thing I have to a guru. Nineteen years ago her book,  You Can Heal Your Life changed the way I looked at myself, my relationships and my future and set me on a path of healing and self discovery. you-can-heal-your-lifeThis makes it all the more special and fitting that the first book I am ever published in is one of hers.

Modern-Day Miracles is for sale at Amazon and all good book stores in the USA. It will be released in Australia in August, I believe. I’m not sure about other countries.

This is the achievement of a major goal for me and I am very thankful. It may not be my own novel on a shelf yet, but to be selected by Louise Hay for her new book is a huge honour. She is an icon of the self-help movement - a woman who has sold over 50 million books - and the founder of an international publishing house. And she chose me!!!!!!

I also have to send out a big thank you to my friend, Jennifer Mannion. Jenny is the one who told me about this publishing opportunity and suggested I submit something. Thanks for your encouragement Jenny. It wouldn’t have happened without you. xxx

Kelly

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dscn1195The past month has been a very big change in the life of our family as Bunny finally went to school. Here he is in his school uniform on his first day - doesn’t he look gorgeous?

And notice how he’s standing - he had to get the right “cool” stance for the photo. He’s such a showman sometimes.

Luckily, he was very excited about becoming a “big boy” and to date there have been no tears at all. In fact by the end of the first week he was asking me why so many other kids were still crying.

I took it as an opportunity to explain how everyone feels things differently and some kids may be scared by the changes that go with school. He listened intently, then ever fixated on number one, said, “It’s good I’m brave and don’t cry, isn’t it?”

The one big shock for Bunny was how many days he has to go to school now. He was used to going to daycare/pre-school two or three days with a break in the middle. So, even though I told him school would be more, he didn’t really get it.

The first Wednesday he woke up all ready to play and watch a bit of morning television. He couldn’t believe it when I told him it was a school day.

“Again?” he asked.”Can’t I just go two days?”

He also made the family laugh at the end of the first week when he summed up his big school experience. “All we do is work, work, work,” he said. “They never let us play.”

“Never?” we asked.

“Never,” he said with a serious face.

Lord knows what he’s going to think when he’s out of kindegarten and school really gets hard!

dscn1200

I am proud to say I have coped with the whole transition much better than I expected. In part because Bunny settled in so well and has been his usual cheery self, and it helps that I really like his teacher. She’s very warm and smiley and enthusiastic, which is a good fit for Bunny’s natural exuberance.

Like Bunny, the five days a week routine still seems like a lot to me too. After the first weekend, I really didn’t want him to go back on the Monday. I wasn’t ready for our time to end and I wished that I could tell him to stay home. Of course I can’t, and thankfully Bunny never knew I was even contemplating it. Because if he thought he could get more play time by using my emotional state as leverage, you can bet my silver tongue charmer would be in there like a shot!

While our school experience has been mostly good, there are always highlights and lowlights when you go through this kind of lifestyle change.

Highlights

Bunny’s current enthusiasm for homework. It’s all an opportunity to show me how much he’s learned now. He’s excited to do it and never argues when I say it’s time. I have no idea how long this enthusiasm will last so I’ll appreciate it while I can.

Right now while I’m still feeling a bit depressed, the routine of the school day has become my friend. It anchors my life and gives me some much needed structure.

More time to add in elements that strengthen my own life. I’m starting a writing group with a friend, have made some progress on untangling the plot issues with my novel and am even considering going back to university to finish my Masters in Creative Writing.

Lowlights

The monotony of making school lunches. Bunny’s daycare used to give him cooked meals. This is the first time I have ever had to think about what to pack him for lunch. It’s a total drag. Bunny is not a great fan of the sandwich and there are hardly any fillings he finds acceptable. In an effort to prepare him tasty and healthy lunch boxes I initially turned myself inside out contemplating and preparing lunches. One month in, we seem to have settled into a few combinations that work for us and now I try to remind myself to relax every time I find myself staring into the refrigerator too long.

The endless notes. I am going to have to get a personality transplant and become a much more organised person if I am to survive Bunny’s school years. It hasn’t even been a term and the school office is already doing my head in with notes about things to do or remember. I’m tripping over paper notes in my kitchen. Can’t they just email me?

The pressure to get involved with the school. A note asking me to volunteer at the canteen came home on Bunny’s very first day. Not even a couple of days to settle in. No. Right away it was all “We want you!” I’m not keen. Maybe that makes me a slack mum, but I hate preparing food for my own family. I don’t want to do it for a couple of hundred other children. I have volunteered with reading groups though and that was fun.

How was your experience with your children first starting school? What do you enjoy about school days and what would you trade in a quick minute? Do you have any advice for a starter school mum like me?

Kelly

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greatest-shaveOkay, let’s be clear, I’m not talking about me! I am way too vain to shave my head. Especially since I have a bit of a hair fixation.

You may have heard of the annual charity fundraiser, The World’s Greatest Shave, whereby certain generous individuals agree to have their hair publicly shaved off in order to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Funds raised go to providing support and care for patients and families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma, and other blood related disorders. The Leukaemia Foundation also funds vital research into treatments and cures.

This year one of my closest friends, Michelle has pledged to shave off her long hair to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. This is a bold and generous act for anyone, but especially for a woman with such a lovely head of hair.

Therefore, I am forwarding the following link in the hope that some of you would be kind enough to sponsor Shelly in the World’s Greatest Shave.shelly-for-greatest-shave2

It’s a worthy cause, all donations are tax deductible, and every dollar counts. It’s also a great way to support an amazing woman as she does something completely selfless for a cause she believes in.

Her registered participant page is: HERE

I have attached a photo of Shelly as she is now. Anyone who donates and would like to see the finished result after March 13th, email me at kelly@she-power.com and I’ll send you the post-shave photo.

Thanks for your time and I hope you consider joining me in supporting the Leukaemia Foundation.

Kelly x

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book-first-page

“Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.”

~E.P. Whipple

I was reading to Bunny last night before bed and I came across one of my favourite opening lines for a book. And it got me thinking about my own novel and how I have yet to write the perfect opener.

To my mind, a great opening line is essential. It may not precede an equally great read, but without it, I won’t even want to buy the book.

The book I was reading last night is a favourite I have referred to before.

Dr Seuss, The Lorax.
“At the far end of town where the grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows and no birds ever sing excepting old crows…. is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.”

It’s poetry in narrative because it slides of the tongue, sets the melodic rhythm of the book, is simple and has such visual word choices. It’s perfect.

Other favourites which have immediately intrigued me or demonstrated language I knew I’d appreciate are:

George Orwell, 1984
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Crisp writing and immediately I know this story is something different.

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

Unique and captivating. This also tells me right away what story I am reading.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Clever and insightful. Masterful lanaguage and construction.

Carrie Fisher, Surrender the Pink
“Dinah Kaufman lost her virginity a total of three times.”

Catchy, quirky and clever. I love smart and funny writing, so I bought the book right then and there.

Honourable Mention

The following is an opening paragraph, rather than an opening line, but it is one of the most compelling beginnings of a novel that I have ever read. The rest of the book is just as fantastic if you like crime.

Andrew Vachss, Shella
“The first time I killed someone I was scared. Not scared to be doing it, I did it because I was scared. Shella told me it was like that for her the first time she had sex. I was fifteen that first time. Shella was nine.”

Sparsely written and plain spoken but also gritty, heart wrenching, and unsettling. I love this book. It’s one that stays with you.

Do you have any favourite opening lines of books? I know there are many others I love, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

How do you choose a book to buy? Are you like me saying “Yay” or “Nay” depending on the first page? Or maybe the cover and back blurb are important to you. Do you need time to have a good leaf through the pages? Or maybe you only read books that have been recommended by people you trust. Fill me in.

Kelly

Flickr Photo by photobunny

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death-renewal-catharsisIn 2009 I got old.

And it wasn’t because I turned 38.

For the first time in my life I felt old. Powerless to create the life I wanted. Fearful for the future. All too conscious of human suffering.

I wondered if my best years were behind me. I questioned my faith in “everything happens for a reason” and it will “all work out in the end”.

I’ve been clinically depressed before, but this was different. It was like the world shook and an avalanche of woe came crashing down around me. It wasn’t on top of me, I was okay, but I couldn’t see or breathe through the confusion, unexpected change, and unbearable loss and worry.

In 2009, life took me off course and I couldn’t find a way back to myself.

My Year in Review


MusicMan and I almost got divorced, only salvaging our relationship with much determination, communication, abundant tears and months of marriage counselling.

An opportunity arose to heal some old wounds with a family member. Taking this path has been promising, disappointing and deeply unsettling. The landscape of my life has changed, though I have no idea if it is permanent or what it means. Questions have been answered. New ones have arisen. If I still sound confused by it all, that’s because I am.

One of my closest friends had serious health problems, the kind that require an operation and major life changes. She battled though this amidst depression and the breakdown of her marriage. I agonized for her, but I didn’t need to. She’s soldiered through to reclaim her life. I stand in awe of her and hope she realises just how amazing she is.

My best friend’s baby was stillborn. The devastation for her and her husband cannot be put into words. Not by me. It was not my loss. But I know I speak for our close knit group of friends when I say this tragedy crushed us all. We grieve for her. We grieve for the child we eagerly anticipated, but will never know. We grieve for a life that did not have a chance to blossom and grow. I have railed at a world where this can happen, at a God who makes good people suffer so. None of this changes the indisputable truth that someone I love with all my heart will never be the same again.

And…

MusicMan and I celebrated the renewal of our marriage and our family’s future by falling pregnant, only to discover at my 12 week scan that I’d had a missed miscarriage. My body hadn’t registered the loss yet, but my baby’s heartbeat had stopped the week before. It was an enormous shock. We weren’t at all prepared, having thought that by 12 weeks we had reached some level of safety.

The miscarriage only happened in November, so I’m still working my way through the grieving process. I feel robbed, scared, angry, lost. Questioning my choices, fearful of what this means for my life. I wonder why this had to happen when it took years for us to find a way back to each other so we could extend our family. I wonder if it means I will never have another child. If I am too old. If I should just give up and be grateful for the amazing child I have. Then the guilt sets in. What right do I have to ask for another child when my best friend has none? What does my suffering matter in the face of her pain, her loss? It’s a vicious cycle and every day I try to move a little bit forward, to keep the hope alive without becoming desperate. I don’t want my desire for another child to become all consuming.

What will be, will be.

The Fallout

No single event flattened me, but together they created enough pressure so I was slowly sagging into myself. Giving up. My dreams, goals, they all started to drift away. Leaving me with the feeling that I had slid past the peak of my life and into decline without noticing.

I became preoccupied with my mortality. Driving out of the garage, I would think, “I could die today. Any of us could”. I began to worry about my looks. About aging. I started searching the planes of my face in the mirror, noticing changes, chalking up flaws.

This was a new experience for me. The emergence of a fear I have never understood in others. I have always been told I looked years younger than my actual age. It was a nice compliment, but not one I thought much about. I mostly put it down to my girlish freckles, ongoing aversion to make-up and primping, and my natural exuberance.

I don’t feel exuberant these days. And definitely not young and invincible. Now I study the frown lines digging trenches between my eyebrows. Pigmentation changes that threaten to overtake the freckles. I have stopped working out and put on 7kg (15lbs), choosing a bottle of wine and a consoling piece of chocolate cake over my health. Some of my friends are getting botox. I wonder what it could do for me. Can they inject the spark of life back into me?

I waste hours being a person of regret. Lamenting my teens when I would slather myself in copha to get the perfect tan. Mourning my time in Mexico and Central America, where I lay free and boneless in ecstacy on white sand beaches. High on the unrelenting confidence of youth. Drinking my days away and dreaming of rainbows of tomorrow.

Those days seem so long ago now. Like they were from another person’s life. One who believed in one big adventure after another. Who always looked forward with naive, unsinkable optimism. That person isn’t me.

So, this is why I haven’t been blogging. Not because I haven’t wanted to connect with you all. Not because I’ve been wallowing on the floor depressed either. But I can’t write my pain and worry away by dissecting it on the page and sharing it with the world. Sometimes you must retreat, grow into new strengths, unravel your confusion, find the convoluted truth quietly, without an audience.

I have made it through 2009 with my family together, my health intact, friends close to my heart, my writing on a roll and a home that gives me peace. My life isn’t perfect. There’s still a weight of sadness atop my shoulders, but that’s okay.

It’s a new day. The sun is out. Anything could happen.

Kelly

Flickr photo c0urtesy of Voyageur Solitaire-mladjenovic_n

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So this is Christmas…

by Kelly on December 24, 2009 · 10 comments

in Life. People. News

xmas-dogs

I know I’ve been absent a lot this year, but despite what it looks like, I haven’t gone away. I’m still here!

I have, however, had a very challenging year and my blogging has suffered accordingly. Some people find it helps to blog about their problems, but I am not one of them. When life isn’t good for me, the last thing I want to do is slave over an article about my woes and then throw it out to the world for comment.

So, forgive me my absence and know I haven’t given up on this blog. My blogging muse has been enjoying a little vacation, but I’m hoping she might make a comeback in 2010.

To all my readers, past and present (hellooo - is anyone out there?), I raise my festive glass of bubbly and say:

Merry Christmas!

May you have a holiday season filled with love, laughter and abundant good cheer.

And because I like to have a song for every occasion, I’ll leave you with the legendary John Lennon.

Lots of Love,

Kelly x

Flickr Photo by celinda

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vampire-storyI know I haven’t posted for awhile, so I thought I’d share some of what I have been writing.

I’m working a lot on my fiction and am currently slipping between work on the third draft of Running with the Dead and a new novel about a young female vampire. I have no idea if I will actually continue on with the vampire story, but I’m having fun with it, so here’s a little bite of Tansie the Vampire’s story.

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The agitated tap of a boot on concrete was the first sound I heard as I came to. A deep pain sliced into my abdomen as I tried to sit up. A low groan escaped my lips.

The shoes stopped tapping and I heard a chair scrape as someone got up, then footsteps as they came nearer. All my senses screamed danger and a new level of alertness returned. The delicate arch of a fly’s wings as it soared near my head. The sour air wafting through the open window. The chill of concrete beneath my face. I opened my eyes and saw bars and black leather boots, at least a size 11.

The shoes moved again and I suddenly remembered what had happened before I blacked out. The club. Trinity taking off with the American girl. The mysterious man at the bar with the grey eyes and tattooed forearms. How did I get from the club to here, and where was here?

I was in danger. The thought was novel to me, but utterly clear, I had to get out of there. I flipped and was on my feet in the fraction of a second. My wound screamed and the room swam as my vision played hide and seek with a murky cloud. Drugged. I must have been drugged.

I flew back against the wall and tried to keep myself upright while I rubbed at my eyes and tried to shake the fog off. I had to get my bearings. I noticed my fangs had not come out, which didn’t make sense. I was under attack. I was scared. No, terrified! Where were my fangs? A growl rose from within. I focused on finding my fangs, but there was nothing.

“Sorry about this, Tansie.”

The man with the grey eyes spoke. He stood on the other side of what I could now see were effectively prison bars. A door with some kind of fancy deadlock was to my right, the bars around it reaching down into the flooring and up into the concrete ceiling. He watched as I quickly scanned the room and assessed my captivity.

“You can’t escape, so don’t even try,” he said, rocking back on his heels, heavy arms folded across his chest, the vine like tattoos crawling out from beneath his short sleeve shirt and stretching for his wrist.

“Who are you? What are you?” I asked, putting both hands to my sides and flat against the wall.

I may have looked like I was resting against it, but really my fingers were trying to dig into the structure, testing if I could throw myself through this wall. I had no idea what was on the other side, but I was starting to think it couldn’t be worse than what I was facing in here.

A cold half smile flittered across his face. “Let’s just say I’m a concerned citizen.”

“Concerned for what? Out to stop women under half your size from having sex with you. Well, you’re doing a great job. I have absolutely no desire to get laid now. So, how about you let me out and I’ll forget this ever happened and not call the police.”

“The police?” I swear his eyes positively sparkled.

“I hardly think they’re going to care about the likes of a vampire.”

A chill ran through me and if my heart was still beating, I swear it would skip into an accelerated gallop about now.

“A what?” I laughed. “Honey, you are one crazy motherfucker.”

I winked. “Now, I don’t mind crazy some days, so like I said, why don’t you forget all the horse shit and let me out. Your little joke has gone quite far enough.”

He studied me for a long minute, not speaking, not moving his eyes from my face. I wish I had the ability to read minds so I knew what he was thinking, but nothing. I couldn’t even guess. There was no giveaways in his body language and his face was blank. Like a stone sculpture that wasn’t quite finished yet.

Finally he said, “Sure. You can go if you want.”

He moved to punch in a code and the door opened. I watched him for a moment, wondering if he was going to stake me or lop my head off the second I made a move.

He stepped back away from the door to the cell and then pointed at a closed door which led somewhere else.

“You leaving or what?”

It was a trick. It had to be. Who took a woman to his place and locked her in a cell and then let her go for no reason? Even so, what choice did I have? If this freak really did know I was a vampire, I could be in for real trouble. Everything about this cage and those tattoos made me think my captor had his own very specific agenda here. And I doubted he got those muscles from pumping iron in the gym.

My side hurt and I knew I’d have to feed if I wanted to heal properly. He was an attractive candidate, but I sensed he knew better than to let his guard down. I had to get going and quick.

With a whisper of a breeze I moved through the cell door and paused for a nano-second at the man and breathed, “See ya”. A second later I had the door open and was on the move.

The light hit me with a force I had never experienced before. I screamed. Not some ordinary kind of ‘I’m terrified’ scream, but the fully fledged ‘I think I’m dying’ kind. The blood racing through my veins was simmering to a rapid boil, like I was a saucepan about to pop its lid. I covered my eyes with an arm, felt the sun’s rays strip skin of my forearm, my shriek still echoing through the room.

So this is what it felt like to go in the sun. Dario was right. I really didn’t want to know pain like this. I knew I wouldn’t last for more than a few minutes, maybe less. I threw myself back into the prison room, slamming the door behind me.

“Change your mind?” drawled grey eyes as he leaned back against the bars, those massive branch like arms still folded across his chest.

“Maybe you might like to stay and answer some questions of mine.”

He pointed to the cell and a stretcher bed I hadn’t noticed before, which was pushed up against one wall.

“Make yourself comfortable.” He sat down on his chair and pulled it closer to the bars. “This might take awhile.”

Kelly

Flickr Photo by Desiree Delgado

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Why is Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood headlining my post today?

Because as I was happily singing along with Frankie on the radio the other day, I realised that as much as I love this song, it really is quite daggy. You know, one of those tracks you think twice about admitting you like because it’s dated or courtesy of some forgotten band.

And let’s be honest, some songs, for whatever reason, they’re just not cool. They’re the equivalent of Elvis movies - well known and so bad they’re memorable. I’d put almost every Celine Dion song in this category.

This got me thinking about all the songs I secretly adore, but wouldn’t necessarily put on my iPod. All were real favourites in their day and even now when they come on the radio I will belt them out and reminisce about the events of my life I associate with these songs.

The five that immediately come to mind as too embarrassing to publicly love are:

Against All Odds - Phil Collins

Run to Paradise - Choirboys

My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion

Baby One More Time - Britney Spears

Kickstart My Heart

And while I’m baring my inner self and talking music, I may as well show you my favourite video for gratuitous perving.

What You Get Is What You See - Tina Turner

I always liked the guy with the long dark hair. The only thing he’s missing is a couple of tattoos and he’d be perfect :)

I’d also like to point out that Tina Turner had a 50th Anniversary tour this year. She turns 70 in about a month - yes 70 years old - and she’s only now farewelling rock and roll. Now that’s an inspirational woman.

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Enough of me being out here airing my dirty secrets alone. What about you?

Share the old tracks you’re secretly embarrassed to love.

Kelly

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relaxing-girlI’ve been giving a good deal of thought to creating the perfect writing space lately.

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I have a new writing studio, which means now I have to decorate it and create an environment that is  quiet, uncluttered, creative, and nurturing.

I’ve already installed a nice comfy bed for reading and relaxing. Some of my treasures have been put in place - paintings of Bunny’s, travel photos, my hand made Mayan doll and a beautiful sculpture of a mother and child that my mum gave me. And of course, my trusty desk chair, which reclines to the perfect angle for staring out the window while plotting/day dreaming.

The new glass top desk should arrive next week and my collection of writing reference books and notes from my writing studies have finally found a home. I have also been hunting through old photos from my life and the important people who share it so they can be plastered around my desk to remind me to stay in a state of gratitude.

Gratitude because this studio is much more than a writing studio. It is a sanctuary. A place of my own, where I can escape the family, meditate, reflect, read and write to my heart’s content. I might even find some time for paid work if I get really bored :)

This process of building a home for Kelly the Writer has also had me thinking about INSPIRATION. About how to get more of it into my life. How to keep it there when it comes calling. How to remind myself to look for it when times get rough.

Inspiration has led me to quotes. More specifically inspirational quotes that will help push me when I need to soldier on through writer’s block or creative despair. Quotes that may help when I inevitably become confused about what my goals are and the validity of my novelist dreams.

In trawling through the archives of quotes available on the internet (how did I ever survive without Google? I don’t wonder anything anymore. I just google it!), I kept coming across one name again and again. Oscar Wilde.

Such a brilliant quip. I am sure a wittier man has never been born. And to make me extra envious of such a  literary and intellectual  talent, some of Oscar Wilde’s quotes are more than clever, they’re positively insightful.

oscar-wilde

Let Me Share Some Famous Oscar Wilde Witticisms

A month before his death, Oscar Wilde is reputed to have said, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.”

Although Oscar Wilde was homosexual, he once proposed to a society heiress, Charlotte Montefiore. She refused, and he wrote back with, “I am so sorry about your decision. With your money and my brain we could have gone so far.”

Once when asked by a customs officer if he had anything to declare, Wilde replied, “Nothing except my genius.”

Some of my Favorite Oscar Wilde Quotes

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

“I can resist everything except temptation.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.

“Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.

“Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”

And my Absolute Favourite …

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

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I feel inspired just typing this. How I love a writer with a sharp mind and the perfect turn of phrase.

What do you think of Oscar Wilde’s writings? Which quote do you like the best?

Kelly

Flickr Photo1 by p!o

Flickr Photo2 by anaxila

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“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

- Grenville Kleiser, Author


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