New Format

Welcome to my new format blog. I do love the challenge of a change! I’ve tweaked it to try and make it more interesting and cover some broader topics each week, rather than concentrating on one theme at a time. I hope it still has the personal touch and it probably feels more like a newsletter...but not on an email!

In today’s blog.... Trending topics of my week, book recommendations, What I’ve been up on the art front, interesting articles I’ve read...

I really hope you enjoy the new format. Please feel free to comment or contact me with suggestions to make it better.

This week saw the summer solstice, the longest day, and here in England the hottest day of the year so far...the temperature topped 34C Here in the Home Counties. That may not be hot for some of you elsewhere in the world but here... we're just not geared up for it. The government issued health warnings, roads melted and as usual there were people who heeded none of it and still had a good time. Me? I carried on as normal including mowing the lawns, and consequently joined the roads, I melted.

Last Sunday was Father's dad passed away over 20 years ago and I have missed him every day since. No longer in a sad, depressing way but in a 'missing his sense of humour and awesome attitude on life' kind of way. I'm still trying to be like him; they are big shoes to walk in! I miss his laughter, his smile, his way of just making everything seem right.

On a lighter note... my family has been away this week! Oh the silence! Glorious peace! Of course I've had the opportunity to follow their antics on Facebook and sometimes wishing I hadn't, and messenger has been put to good use, so I haven't really had the chance to miss them... or them me! And I've had the cats for company. I'm sitting on my patio, it's nearly 9pm, still nearly 30C, the light is starting to fade... I'm watching stag beetles fly around and the first of the bats are starting their nightly dance.

I did take the opportunity to read a few books in the sunshine this week, 4 actually, though I had higher aspirations. I guess it was just too hot! I still have 112 unread books on my kindle which I will eventually get around to. I will!

There are two of this week’s reads which are worthy of particular note:

The Secrets Within by Noah Harris. Book one in a new M/M paranormal shape shifter series which looks like it could be an awesome one to follow. Nick had just started college but fate conspires to put the weight of the world on his shoulders. He finds out he's a shape shifter, his parents have been lying, there's a war going on and to top it all off he's falling for his best friends dance partner.

PS I Spook You by SE Harmon. FBI profiler, Rain, can see and talk to ghosts. A fact that gets him into a lot of trouble but which ultimately is his making. It's the witty writing that really hooked me and I found my self laughing out loud. Rains banter with his ex Danny and with Ethan his resident ghost is hilarious but the book has emotional moments which balance it perfectly.

On the art front I've just finished a book cover for a friend, front and back, which I'm hoping she likes. The book will be released later in the year and I promise to include it here with the cover art!

I've also been designing logos for, potentially, 2 new ventures I'm planning to launch later this year. One is a non-profit venture to provide a helping hand to new authors who desperately need Help but don't yet make enough to pay for it. In that vein I'm excited to be a part of a new website and Facebook group, The Rainbow Tribe. We'll be launching soon so when I know the date I'll link the launch event here. The other venture is a family e-commerce start up with my husband and son. I'll tell you more about both as the ideas solidify. Watch this space! I've signed up for free webinar in a few day’s time about cracking online marketing. I'll let you know next week what it was like.

My time spent perusing the internet for interesting tuff to read has produced quite a few great articles recently which you too may find entertaining or useful…so included some links below.

Darius Foroux describes himself as ‘ entrepreneur, author, and podcaster. I share ideas for living a useful (and productive) life.’ This article on Zen principles is a really quick read and if you don’t know about ‘Zen’ then read it’ll enlighten you…

My interpretation is that no matter what happens in your life; you must keep doing your task. I live by that philosophy too. You can replace enlightenment with any life goal. Nothing changes once you achieve something. You still have to do what you’re meant to do. Over the past few years, I’ve read more about Zen and everything that’s related to it. What I’ve found is that it’s not a smart thing to get hung up on definitions, movements, and groups. Buddhism, Taoism, Zen — they share many of the same ideas. I also don’t care what is what and who invented certain ideas. I’ll leave that to the pseudo intellectualists of this world. All I know is that many of the Zen teachings are very useful for living a peaceful and happy life. So I’ve made a list of 5 Zen lessons I’ve found practical and easily applicable to modern day life.

Jon Westenberg - ‘I want to change your world.’

This is a particularly good article on the reality of being a 'creative' this week.

I want to talk about creativity. The creativity that people like me need to make a living and make our living worthwhile. The creativity that drives us to re-invent things that need re-inventing and to “hit targets no-one else can see.” It’s easy to become caught up in the tropes and myths that surround people who create things. The misconceptions and pretensions that people tell each other about what it takes to make stuff. I sometimes wonder how many great creatives were turned off because they didn’t fit these tropes:

I found a great new brand of gin for this summer’s G&Ts...and all in a good cause!

This article is by Benjamin P Hardy.

In April of 2015, I got serious about my goal to become a professional writer. I had written an eBook, Slipstream Time Hacking, and was anxious to know how to traditionally publish it. At that time, I had just barely put up my own website and had a subscriber-base of zero. I decided literary agents would be my best source of advice. After all, they know the publishing industry back-and-forth — or so I thought. After talking to 5–10 different agents about their coaching programs, it became apparent my questions would need to be answered elsewhere.

John P. Weiss – writer and artist.

The point here is not to encourage readers to drop out of school. Statistically, college graduates fair better in life than dropouts. Rather, the point is to listen to your heart more than your ego. Do things that align with who you are, not what others think you should be.

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