Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Mash-up

A few interesting bits and pieces I've stumbled across this month:

Just a short while ago Bob Mayer blogged a link to this article on the history of Amazon. It's lengthy, but insightful. It also makes the failed Borders into the real meanie, much like this post from Holt Uncensored.

Dani Collins, the newest signing to Mills & Boon, wrote this delightful post on the iHeart Presents blog which is worth a read.

For a reality check, YA author Cristin Terrill has put together this eye-opening post on the reality of the six figure-deal, and self-publishing guru JA Konrath posted his take on facts and figures.

Thanks to Suzanne Minx for this link which made me laugh and cry: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/how-to-propose-in-2012.html

And thanks to fellow ROSA-lite Joss Wood (also a newly signed Riva author!) for this delightful cartoon:


Farewell May!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hopes and Heartbreaks

If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.
- Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

Our local sugar manufacturer, Huletts, prints inspirational messages on their sugar packets. This is one I opened recently, and I've kept it in my purse since because it really resonates with me.

Since most followers of this blog are aspiring writers, I bet you already have hopes of living a rather different life than the one you have now. It probably involves seeing your name on the cover of a beautiful hardback, cashing in substantial royalty cheques and being feted at book signings.

Much as I'd like all the above, my dream is far simpler: to be a stay-at-home writer and full-time mom. It's what keeps me going and without it my heart would break.

I cannot imagine how people stay on the treadmill of traffic, bosses, end-of-the-month financial woes, and the guilt-ridden feeling that your kids deserve more of you than an anxious hour at the beginning and end of every day, without having a dream.

So for today's Inspiration, I'd like to suggest that we share our dreams, and remind ourselves of what we're hoping for and living for.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hereafter

I'll admit that these days new movies tend to come and go without even registering on my radar. The up side of this is that when I'm sitting in front of the TV, and it's nearly midnight and I really should be heading off to get some sleep, and a movie starts that I've never heard of, I have absolutely no preconceptions.

That's what happened this past weekend, and the movie in question was Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood (who really is an example of the finer things in life getting better with age!)

The movie opens with the Boxing Day Tsunami, and at first I thought it was a foreign film as the dialogue was all in French with sub-titles. As interesting as the opening was, I began to pack up my laptop to head to bed. And then Matt Damon popped up on screen.
What was he doing in a French film?

I'm glad I stopped to ask the question, because by the time I realised this wasn't just another made-for-TV disaster movie, nor a foreign film, I was hooked.

There are three story strands, each featuring a central character (a blue-collar worker with psychic abilities, a French journalist, and a London schoolboy) and the three strands only weave together at the very end. All three characters have been closely affected by death, and the film is an examination of what happens on the other side of death - in the Hereafter.

The film's resolution is predictable, and Hereafter probably won't change the way you see the world, or your beliefs about death and life, in the way that Inception did, but it is well worth watching. This film is a fine example of a story that draws you in, makes you care about the characters, and I'll admit there were scenes where I just couldn't stop crying. In a good tear-jerker way.

Have you seen this film? Let me know what you thought.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Elephant Whisperer

Thanks to the book club I joined late last year, I've started reading books outside my comfort zone (ie. Romance). One of these is The Elephant Whisperer, second book by South African game ranger and animal conservation expert Lawrence Anthony.

You don't have to love animals or be into nature conservation to enjoy this novel. Elephants are amazing creatures, and we can learn a lot from them - and some of Anthony's observations about their uncanny abilities brought me chills. The book is filled with drama and high adventure, including encounters with poachers and wild animals. Best of all for me, it's a 100% accurate insider view of life in the African bush. Africa comes alive in this book!

The author is also fascinating in that he not only saved a herd of traumatised elephants from being culled and successfully integrated them into his game reserve Thula Thula (the story of The Elephant Whisperer) but he was the man who saved the Bagdad Zoo during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He immortalised that adventure in his first book, Babylon's Ark, co-written with author Graham Spence.

Sadly, Lawrence Anthony died recently, shortly before the release of his third book, The Last Rhinos, which is now filling the stands in the front of every bookstore in South Africa.

Buy Links
Babylon's Ark: Amazon and Amazon UK
The Elephant Whisperer: Amazon and Amazon UK
The Last Rhinos: Amazon and Amazon UK

And just in case you think elephants are cute and cuddly, try this for size. This picture was taken in Kenya and sent to me recently by friends. is a picture sent to me recently. (PS: Thanks to Gav & Nic's friend Tracy for this!)



Monday, May 14, 2012

The day I've had

As soon as I get my mojo back, normal service will resume.


UPDATE 15 May: Kristen lamb's fabulous blog post from last night (my time) really struck a chord. Sometimes trying to do everything and be everything isn't as important as just taking a break. So stuff the meaning of life, because I'm taking a break.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free!

For today only, you can get my lovely CP Sally Clements' book The Morning After free from Amazon. This is a delightful story, which Sally affectionately refers to as her Winnie the Pooh book. Have a read to find out why.

Today and tomorrow Sally is also offering up Catch Me a Catch, her novel set against the backdrop of an Irish match-making festival.

Both books are fantastic reads, and I guarantee you'll enjoy them. I did!

And finally, Judy Jarvie is offering up her novel Nanny Behaving Badly (originally published by the now defiunct Embrace Books) free this weekend. I'm definitely taking this opportunity to support a friend!

Buy links:

The Morning After - Amazon and Amazon UK
Catch Me a Catch - Amazon and Amazon UK
Nanny Behaving Badly - Amazon and Amazon UK

Monday, May 7, 2012

A little Old World style

A picture paints a thousand words. And maybe today's picture might spark even more for you. Who lives here, and is it by choice? What does this place mean to them? What does it mean to you?


With thanks to photographer Melinda Brovelli.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brace yourselves ... this isn't going to be pretty

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him"
- James D. Miles

Yesterday I heard something that really, really annoyed me. Steam coming out my ears annoyed. A simple sentence that a couple of years ago I might not even have batted my eyelashes at. The sentence was "his time is so much more valuable than ours."

Really?

You're probably thinking "Romy, you're over-reacting." And maybe you're right. After all, it was a discussion about setting up a business meeting, and in business a client's needs are always more important than our own.

But it was the word 'valuable' that set me off, because I really don't see myself as a less worthy person simply because I earn less money or don't have a six word job title.

Who gets to decide who on our planet is important and who isn't? Who gets to decide that my time is less valuable than someone else's?
They obviously didn't poll my kids, because I'm pretty certain that to them their mom is a whole lot more important than some stranger they've never met.

As I see it, this attitude that some people are more valuable or more worthy than others is at the root of all our society's ills. For a nation proud of its democracy we still haven't achieved true equality. Because equality doesn't have to mean we all vote, or we all live in a 3-bedroomed house.
True equality is where we accept that every person has value.

Last night I caught a few moments of a news report in which a 12 year old boy was talking about raping his 3 year old sister. How can a child hurt another child intentionally like this? How can this be happening in our society?
I didn't see much, because I switched channels in a hurry to get away from it, but the gist of the report was that early exposure to porn led to this behaviour.

Really?

Sadly way too many people have witnessed violence. But that doesn't make them all turn into violent criminals. No. I believe the difference in those who turn violent is that they believe the people they hurt are less valuable.

None of us has the right to decide we're more valuable than another person. We are all equal, we are all valuable. And until this becomes the norm in our society, we're all going to hell in a hand basket.
(By the way, what is a hand basket?)