Meet Aussie author Liv Arnold

This month I have the privilege of presenting two authors, one an Australian and one from the U.K. and two completely different genres. I am fortunate to be meeting so many interesting people with interesting stories to tell. I especially have a soft spot for Aussie writers as you may well imagine but mostly like my reading tastes, my people taste, is eclectic. I love different and individual.

We will meet Caroline Noe (paranormal, science fiction and fantasy writer) later this month but today we have Liv Arnold (a romance/law and order blend), an author who offers an interesting insight into a subject that is very close to my heart. Well, two subjects actually, writing and anxiety. Both of these are a big part of my life. In reading Olivia’s candid opening I suddenly realised just how much being able to put down words has done for me, most especially my poetry because unlike my romance novel I can just be me (and that there is so much less to edit is a bonus).

As a self-published author I do a lot myself. With poetry there is so much more freedom to express my thoughts my way, and most importantly it allows me to explore so many topics including anxiety. I can appreciate why I was drawn to her wonderful personality. Like Olivia, anxiety exists whether I want it or not, and because I can appear confident, a technique perfected to self-protect, people often don’t understand just what is involved, and just how badly it can affect day-to-day life. Olivia however has been pro-active in dealing with the issue, and in working out what suits her, and the confidence it has given her is inspiring. So meet Liv Arnold.

Olivia

Hi all,

I’m Liv Arnold and I have worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now run my own freelance business. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and live with my husband and our spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. When I’m not writing, I’m avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, I’m a massive book addict and often read until all hours of the night.

How writing can help with your mental health – an author’s musings

Writing is better than therapy! I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I always picture the worse-case scenarios, take hours to fall asleep (sometimes I’m still awake when the sun comes up) and my chest is permanently tightened.

Medication barely helps and I lack the focus for meditation. My mind wanders too often and my whole-body fidgets. Sometimes I even laugh.

Writing drowns out the noise in my head – maybe because I’m focusing on fictional characters and story-lines far removed from the real world. At work on my breaks, if my mind starts to spin out of control, I write for a few minutes straight to refocus. People cope with anxiety in different ways but writing with some exercise helps me.

But being an author, brings a whole new level of worry. Not everyone will support you. The rejections sting every time. Negative feedback can dampen your confidence. I often wondered whether all of this was worth it or if my writing skills were good enough. With an industry full of self-doubt, it’s so important to find your tribe.

My mum encouraged me to do a creative writing course at RMIT. It’s a short course that runs for 8-10 weeks for three hours a week after work. I loved every moment of the class and ended up doing three short courses. The teachers were so inspiring, and it was great to speak to like-minded people. I work-shopped my stories in class and continued with them after the course finished. At first, I was terrified reading my work out to people. But the more I did this, the more I got used to the process. Everyone was always so supportive and gave constructive feedback.

I never thought a traditional book contract would ever happen for me. I believed it was equivalent to movie or record deals. The odds are so high stacked against you. When I first received my contract, I kept reading the words in disbelief. Every time my publisher emailed me, I straightaway thought they were going to say, ‘actually you suck and we’re taking the contract back’.

Writing is my one thing to focus on. Something that moves me forward with my life when I wonder the point of everything. I’m so pleased Law & Disorder has now come to life. Every time I receive a good review, it’s often a surprise to me (maybe the anxiety talking) but I am so grateful that people have been enjoying my book.

Thanks for reading.

Liv

Contact me

I would love to hear from you! Contact me on:

www.livarnold.com

www.facebook.com/livarnoldauthor

https://twitter.com/liv_au

https://www.instagram.com/liv_au

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18845019.Liv_Arnold

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/liv-arnold

 

Bye for now

Barb

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Book Corner Chilling in March

I have been thinking about creating a regular post around reading for quite a while. I love all kinds of books and my consumption is large enough to surprise the heck even out of me at times. In fact, where do I find the time? I don’t know. No, that’s not true. I do know. I love it, always have and always will. Reading is a long-standing love affair. If in doubt, ask the walls of Paddington Library in Sydney where by the age of twelve I had finished reading the entire junior section and had started on the adult.

books

These days the reward of reading for pure enjoyment has a sibling. Its name is Crafty Craft Teacher. I can’t afford courses on writing too often, so I am crafty with my craft and learn where I can and reading books by other authors is a great method. I research through something I love. How incredible is that? I read other authors works constantly and yes, I do review. I am conscious of how much that can help but then I have always reviewed because I think an author needs to know how their work is received. How better to learn than from the source that feeds us?

Every comment helps. My work is a good example of this. I have learned so much like the fact I’m inclined to use too many words, that I miss small grammar errors, that I tell where I should let my characters show and other bits and pieces I’d rather not think about. However, I take each thing on board. It’s why I have been so slow with the second novel in my series. Limited by funds I have upped my article reads (non-fiction) and my fiction reads. Slowly I am learning about and addressing my weaknesses, and I am praying this is showing up in my work in progress.

I have begun to see some improvements and its exciting and I owe much of it to the pleasure other writers have given me and are giving me. More and more I am intrigued by what is likeable and yes, the mechanics are important but the heart of reading, the connections we readers make and the worlds we enter matter so much more. Some writers are so good at it that I am in awe of it, and aside from learning I gain time out and these days we need it, all of us. It inspired me to revisit and now to share.

Each month I will introduce some of the books I have read that have provided fun, and entertainment, sometimes laughter and even a few teary moments. They are random genres, and random choices of writing style but they all helped me pass the time when so much was going on in my life. They brought me quiet times away from the world. Many are books by Indie authors, self-publishing as I do, and many are traditionally published. Reading is about pleasure and I want to keep it that way, so there are no reviews even if I have reviewed them and the books have not necessarily been 5 star although some are. I’m just presenting books that I have enjoyed and sometimes what this is comprised of,  can surprise even ourselves. I hope you take a look for yourselves. I promise it is most worthwhile.

Ciao,

Barb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoping you time the time to enjoy, see you next time

Barb

 

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Meetings, questions and Oprah

journalsLike many, I am an Oprah fan. How can you not be when you see the things she has achieved? This will be the first of two posts where I use Oprah as my springboard to consider certain aspects of life. Sometimes we make a connection without understanding the connection. This post is a good example of exactly that. I started reading about conducting meetings and suddenly it became so much more.

The article in question comes from Thrive Global Stories. In it Brendon Burchard, the author of High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, says Oprah starts every meeting the same way, no matter the meeting topic. Brendon says she asks three questions:

“What is our intention for this meeting? What’s important? What matters?”

Such basic questions and yet there is so much more here. Why? And, why have I chosen to build a post around this? Well, because almost everything we do involves a meeting of some kind, including the one that has some of us sitting at a computer. The computer and the individual come together to produce, to make decisions that require negotiations so that a reader can reap the benefits. A corporate meeting is no different. People come together to make improvements by discussion.

Meetings have a reputation and are dreaded by those involved. They, or we fear the boredom of repetition, we fear accountability, and some of us believe we already know everything there is to know. Worse, we often and rightly so, have heard it all before and have not seen the promised changes.

Why does Oprah ask these questions, these three particular questions and why take up a blog post with it? If we approach our ventures asking these questions, we set boundaries. We all secretly and sometime openly seek to be high performers, and high performers need clarity. True clarity means sifting out distractions, so we can re-focus on the important things. If we just focus and not re-focus, we are unlikely to see a difference in what we are doing.

meetingsDeclaring our intention on arrival or at the beginning, means we are clarifying our purpose and not wasting time on the inconsequential.

“That’s why no meeting agenda should include words like information, recap, review, or discussion. Productive meetings often have one-sentence agendas like, Determine the product launch date, or Select software developer for database redesign.”

Before a meeting starts, or from the moment we sit at our desk, or enter a classroom, or pull apart an engine, we must be aware of our goals, our end goals. We are there to solve a problem, edit that chapter, or sell a product. Non-urgent information has no place inside the chosen meeting venue, and our agenda must reflect this. Today I sat down with the specific intention to create this post. This was, is and will be my agenda until I complete it.

Meetings are wonderful because once priorities are established, all involved can prepare in advance. Obviously, there is a need to invite people whose expertise can help attain the set goals. When I sat down to write I had a copy of the article in front of me. It was the article that set me on this path. Don’t think sitting at a desk on your own is a different conversation to Oprah holding a meeting. The principles are the same.

During that time period when we find ourselves inside the meeting bubble the leader needs to ensure the agenda gets followed and goals are met. The purpose must not be pushed aside. Hands up if you turn on the television, or the radio, or make a snack, or get a drink all under the guise of normality but, in truth is an avoidance technique. Isn’t this the basis for disliking meetings? We believe them to be a get together where we talk around issues and nothing gets solved.

Set an agenda, stick to the agenda, and don’t allow any complaining to distract the goal of the meeting, the day, the project. Re-direct constantly to that intention, to what is important.

At meetings attendees “need a record of the decisions made, and a plan of action for next step”. As a writer I need the same. I need to record where I got to, and if incomplete (and most likely it will be) I need to know what next. Write it down, meetings have minutes, writers have journals or diaries.

At the end of the day it’s all about future meetings and a boost to the attendee satisfaction, and this depends on the way we approach the current meeting.

Well this post is finished so I am off to meet up with my journal, so we can sort what to bring for the next post meeting.

Ciao for now,

Barb

 

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Flavours of Italy

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Tivoli Gardens, Rome

When I got side-tracked by poetry, I wondered what the heck I was doing. I went with it and it surprised me. Not so much in the first book, but certainly in the second because the choice of topic wove itself into the novel series. It felt right and then it slowly dawned on me that maybe it did make sense. The Unexpected Series was inspired by my heritage and by the time I spent travelling. I love Italy and all the wonderful places on offer. Now I was writing about it.

My first poetry book Emotions in Eruption was mostly free style but in Emotions in Evolution I allowed my passion for the haiku to flourish. It hasn’t been easy to work with. Haiku requires discipline and I lack this. It has a condensation of words. My mind struggles with that concept. Yet I know the haiku and the places my characters will visit in Unexpected Obsession Book 1, and the books to follow, fit together, at least in my head if nowhere else. The history of Italy is held lovingly in the architecture and countryside, and in the customs and traditions. Words would never be enough to describe the beauty so perhaps less is really more. It is the essence that matters, the feeling evoked that counts.I hope you like my attempts, done with love in my heart.

I have chosen a few haiku I wrote with Italy in mind and taken the scary liberty of recording them. Too many years teaching have taken a toll on my voice but it fun to try. For visuals I included my pintrest link to The Unexpected Series. My board also holds a collection of images from other countries but I thought you might enjoy the variety. If you have never been to Italy, go. If you are going, take me with you.

Roman Hills cry and whisper timeless tears
 of history

 

dark Gothic remains
Renaissance and Byzantine flavours

 

travellers return to the golden isle
Sicilian sun

Until la prossima

Barb

GetBook.at/EmotionsinEruption
   mybook.to/EmotionsinEvolution
GetBook.at/unexpected1

 

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