Mission statement and masks

IMG_1364This post I thought I would try something new (I know I say this often). I recently read an interesting piece by Kristen Kieffer about creating mission statements. This particular post came from an article in The Creative Penn which I also had a look at, and where I was impressed by the latter part of this quote. Mission statements in the larger world act as a “guidepost for important decisions. When things get muddy, a good mission statement gives clarity to the company’s purpose. It’s like a cliff’s notes guide and a compass wrapped in one convenient package.”

I thought about this. Clarifying what it is I am doing could be useful and provide that sense of purpose that creative people often lose very easily.  I know I do. For the most part creativity is at the mercy of a fickle muse. Corporations, small businesses, schools and in fact most places these days have a mission statement.  It is a way of sharing the aims and values that these organisations prize with the clientele they deal with, and often it signifies their point of difference. For a writer, readers are the client and perhaps the reception would be better if the reader not only knew the stories we tell but the reasoning behind why we choose to tell them.

I often follow posts by Travis Bradberry whose work centres on emotional intelligence. Last post he discussed the way most of us seem to be chasing something in the belief “When (blank) happens, I’ll finally be happy.”  The chasing doesn’t work. It is exhausting. Happy people slow down to appreciate little things, stay positive, have deep conversations and help others, and they do things in person with a growth mind-set.  I have never worked as hard as I have since deciding to be a writer, or it decided on me. (I’ve never been sure.) I work so hard that people would not consider it is making me happy. Most of the time it feels like chasing mode. It isn’t. And it does, make me happy that is. Writing allows all the above to happen, at least for me.

I’m not chasing the bestseller list (but a girl can dream), I don’t care about being famous (wait a minute, will it mean I meet Hugh Jackman) but through reading and writing I get to appreciate new worlds and through this see the important things in life, and every day I learn something new.  What if I can reciprocate through my own work, even in a small way, wouldn’t that be a part of this being happy, a major part even? So then why not a mission statement to help me clarify what it is I do and why, and then put it out there to remind me when I falter.

Deciding to write one and actually doing it? What was I thinking? For inspiration I went back to the quote I have on my website:

“Every human is intended to have a character of his own; to be what no others are, and to do what no other can do.”

– William Ellery Channing, 1780-1884

I had chosen this quote and the masks as a theme because I believe it is very much what a writer aims for – to be unique and do something in a way that reflects that uniqueness. I say unique and not original. Everything we do, we do with the knowledge whether conscious or unconscious, of what we have seen, read, and been party to or exposed to in some way. It is the human that chooses and puts on the mask thereby reinforcing their uniqueness with individual choices drawn from the pool of humanity. It is too late for original but never too late to be unique whilst we have an endless library of previous history at our fingertips.

My Mission Statement

Passions are for sharing. My goal then as a self-published author is two-fold. The first is to bring enjoyment through my romance series, my poetry and anything else that I create along the way to my readers. The second is to encourage taking off one mask and replacing it with another to live your own dreams.  I am explorer looking to bring experiences alive on the page with my readers in a joint effort. As a self-confessed passionate lover of languages, cultures and travelling the construction of bridges to new worlds should be enticing and deliver a fantasy that inspires adventures in the wider world or the comfort of the home.

 Authors are architects, builders and worker ants of our creations.  We need a clear, decisive idea of what we do and what we offer so that we can. Will my mission statement help deliver a better product?  Well, I look forward to your thoughts as I hope to have this sorted in the next few days.





(Stayed tuned further for news of a print copy)

Alla prossima,



Finding the right voice

Better 1Don’t be frightened by the length this post.  I am enclosing an extract from my book.  I am so excited to hear what you have to say.

By now you would be aware I read random articles and then blog. I don’t have a pattern because I like the challenge of new things. This post I was particularly taken by the title of the article more than anything else.  It contained the word passport. I have been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I will travel again. Don’t get me wrong, I love travel, love new places with a deep and abiding passion that often overwhelms me. There is something so spectacular in different cultures, traditions, styles of architecture and of course the infinite variety of food to be found in this incredible world of ours.

However things happen to hinder our desires at times, and travel is not in the foreseeable future, at least not at the moment. I think that is why my series came about. Somewhere in there I decided to live vicariously. The golden rule in writing is to write about the things you know. I know about travel. I may not be an expert, I can’t give elaborate details of places and sights I’ve seen but I can tell you about the joy of speaking to the locals, and walking the market places and absorbing the atmosphere so much that I forgot I was the foreigner.

CataniaI can talk about learning words to be able to communicate because in communicating we seem to absorb so much more.  A cousin of mine years ago could say kiss me in a dozen languages.  I can’t do that but I can say please and thank in just as many and I can tell you about a heart open to differences because I have that. Of course being Italian is part of this; I was born into a different way of thinking. However I was born in Australia and I think it added a dimension to the heritage bestowed on me by my parents.

In the article Your Voice Is Your Passport: Deconstructing the Mysterious Thing Called Voice  by Kat Cantrell she makes a point of saying how the voice adds authenticity to your characters and of course to their dialogue. The voice is about how you say what you say and not how you write it.  Is there a difference you are most likely asking? Kat asks if we have “heard the advice to read your manuscript aloud? There’s a reason for that. Writing and speaking aren’t from different planets. The people in your story talk to each other but the characters also talk to the reader, and the reader “hears” them with your voice.”

That got me thinking because it’s my writing, my book on the line and what if the characters all sound the same.  Again I was drawn back to the word passport.  I have been to many places and though they do share similarities, the differences exist if you have the desire to hear and know the difference.  There are certain nuances. Even when people speak the same language, have the same level of education and come from the same place they will have their idiosyncrasies.  So this post I am sharing an extract from my book, from the newly edited copy that I have yet to re-load on line.  Please let me know if my voice is there and if I am true to the differences my characters reveal. Your input would be welcome as my upload is just a week or so away. I look forward to anything you may have to say that may improve what I want to share with you.

From an Unexpected Obsession

 unnamed (2)

“I’m watching you. I’m not my father to be swayed by looks.”

His gaze had moved insolently from the pale pink polished toe nails and bare feet and slowly up, stopping only when he reached her mouth. She had read too many books to let her teeth bite down on her bottom lip. The temptation was strong; it was an instinctive action. He made her uneasy, and not because he made her feel unwelcome. She wasn’t sure she needed or wanted to know the reason. It was enough she understood it was his intention to make her uncomfortable. He was so striking, it was unsettling. Looks and personality, however, could be so at odds. She remained silent but didn’t look away.

“My mother has been through too much in her life. Hurt her in any fashion and I’ll make you sorry in ways you can’t possibly imagine. I won’t let a stronza like you contaminate the air around her.”

“So you can use the Italian language when it suits you. You’re the only one doing the hurting from where I sit. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Forgive my foolish assumption. It couldn’t be because your behaviour in forcing yourself on us suggests no morals or manners.”

“Thanks for the little chat. I think the only stronzo here is you. It’s long overdue for you to put a sock in it. I’ve been trying to be polite, avoid arguments, and show you I do have manners!”

His jaw tightened in disdainful and dismissive amusement. “A sock? Is this some clever Australianism you are imparting on my poor, ignorant brain?”

His tone was polite and yet it flowed with arrogance. How did he manage that? How did he manage to make her feel stupid? “Yes, I said sock. To be exact I said put a sock in it. So it seems you are not familiar with this particular expression. I’m surprised, as I have been quite impressed at your command of English. I can only surmise you had an excellent teacher.”

Domenico just lifted the one eyebrow and waited; complete distaste for her all too evident.

“How can I explain?”Lia was close to saturation point. If he wasn’t making nasty comments, he acted as if she didn’t exist and spoke around her. Domenico presumed and accused, and continually taunted, despite her best efforts to be friendly, to be nice and to find her way back to the warmth and affection that had existed in the past. She suspected he knew that and took pleasure in the opposite. Perhaps what she wanted was unrealistic. It was early days.  Right now though, her anger was too far gone to listen to reason. She turned in her chair and used the wheels to push away from the desk until she was closer to him. “I said, put a sock in it, right here.” Lia stretched over as she spoke and grabbed his crotch and twisted. “A sock in here will ensure that everyone understands how big a dick you actually are, not have, but are. Although I need to stress, if your dick is as pathetic as your behaviour, then it too, might be an issue, a small one but an issue.”

The look on his face was priceless; her enjoyment short-lived. Domenico grabbed her wrist, forcing her hand to envelop him, a ‘him’, or ‘it’ that was a little bigger and harder than she needed to know. It throbbed. She squirmed. A feeling she couldn’t even think about caused her hand to flicker against him and he, it, the thing she couldn’t give a name to, jerked against her fingers. For a split second she pushed against him slowly, curiously fascinated by the way it was literally shaping itself to her hand, and the way it felt, hard and soft at the same time.  Common sense and reality reared, snapping her to attention. Lia tried to pull away.

“You think you are so smart! You’re just a foolish little girl with no idea what you are up against. Don’t ever touch me again, or you will get so much more than you bargained for.” Domenico gave her a smug look as the colour rose from her neck to the roots of her hair. Feeling the heat she tried harder to tug her hand away. He just pressed it tighter against his body. She couldn’t look at him. “You already seem to have the more. Feels good, doesn’t it? Or at least it does to me. I guess my dick doesn’t discriminate as well as I do.”

Her anger spiked. Lia squeezed and twisted hard. She wanted to hurt. Lia heard the hitch in Domenico’s breathing as he tightened his grip on her wrist so cruelly she had to open her hand. He was now hurting her. But, it was worth it. He had expected her to fight him but not attack again and he hadn’t been ready. She looked up in satisfaction only to have that look die under the blaze of heat in his eyes.

“Well, well, well, it seems to me you have quite a bit of your mother in you, don’t you? Like playing with dicks, do we?”

“I don’t know about playing, but in your case ‘dick’ is the point I was trying to make.” She tried to pull away. He exerted even more pressure to keep her hand in place.

“What a clever play on words. Don’t look so surprised. I did have very good teachers.  Good enough to know you need to widen your vocabulary. You do seem to enjoy the word ‘dick’. I prefer cock myself.”

There was coldness in his voice; the flame of heat in his eyes a frightening contrast. Keeping her hand in his grasp he moved it to brush the solid length in a sweeping motion. His use of the word cock had shocked her. The inappropriateness was distracting and it gave him control. Instinctively her fingers spread to cover him. In reaction his cock jerked against her hand again. The feeling it stirred created an odd connection to the more intimate parts of her body. Lia felt sick. She glared at the face sculpted in stone. He let her go. She wiped her hand ruthlessly on her jeans. The stone face cracked a little with a small smug laugh before it closed off again with an indifference that made her want to hit him. Something in his gaze though, made her wary. Lia was smart enough to recognise she was in over her head. It was time to retreat.

“That was disgusting, you are disgusting!” she muttered, completely flustered and furious and not at all able to understand a situation he had turned around so easily to his advantage. How had he gained the upper hand?

“Really? I fucking loved it. Want me to return the favour? It might add a whole new dimension to our relationship.”

“What a total arsehole you are!”

“Why? Because I won ‘this round’? I always win. If you don’t like it, leave.” Nico walked out, leaving her shaken and puzzled, and dismayed at the fact that she had referred to him as Nico even if it was just in her mind. Why that small fact bothered her the most, considering the entire situation, was far too complex to contemplate.

A piu presto




Routines and the Haiku

Japanese cropIt has been quite a while since I have posted. I love blogging but it does get hard at times to maintain unless you have a routine.  I read somewhere if you can stick to something for three weeks then you can count on it becoming permanent in your life. We have a resistance at times to things that are good for us, or at least I have especially when it concerns the gym.  I’d be happy to reach three weeks (am waiting for that to happen).

In 2009 studies showed that on average it takes sixty six days for a habit to become ingrained.  This actually makes more sense than the three weeks. Habits don’t happen overnight.  They take commitment and they demand consistency.  Everything we do is a habit of sorts and it is the effort we make that gives us the results we seek.

It occurred to me that the opposite is also true.  If we don’t commit and work on growing that habit then it would disappear and I don’t think it would take sixty six days or even three weeks for that to happen.  Let’s face it; it’s so much easier to let something go than work at keeping it.  It is why relationships fail along with gym memberships. It is hard to find the stamina sometimes to keep going.

These last few months I have struggled with the idea of writing, a common problem for authors. Working so hard on rewrites is disheartening if necessary, especially when funds for this are limited. I have had to learn to do so much myself.  In some ways I have considered this to be a good thing. It means there are ways to do even the impossible but it is the hard road to take and has a huge effect on other aspects of life.  Time for other things ceases to exist. I didn’t mind this part so much but in combination with an immune system that reacts to stress, some unexpected problems and relocating, insidious threads have managed to undermine an already delicate self-esteem.

This is the problem with humans.  We are frail and falter easily. I have spent a lifetime wanting to write and a mere three months to convince myself it is all too hard and I probably lack the necessary talent in any case. I do know better than to think this way.  However the same brain that says don’t be ridiculous also says you’re tired, you’re not doing it right, and tells you to let it go and find something else that is within your realm of capabilities.

Good habits, unless ingrained derail at faster than a speeding bullet superman speed. Believing you can takes a long time to accept, believing you can’t because you’re not good enough, barely a second. I wonder how many of you can relate to this.  Have you let life steer you away from your dreams?  It is here that habits, the good ones, can kick in if we let them and make the difference.  For me it wasn’t about writing every day or going on social media, although these things matter.  It was about reminding myself of what I can do rather than what I can’t do.

Somewhere in this dark period my eldest daughter decided to drag me to Japan.  She didn’t have to pull too hard as Japan is one of the loves of my life, and we have extended family in Tokyo (increased by one adorable baby girl in March) but it was out of the norm and just what I needed.

You see, I absorb other cultures really well. I learned this as a migrant child, learned to thrive on differences.  I am inspired by them and so I let the beauty of the Japanese people and their country work their magic. I put my novels aside and instead concentrated on the disciplined art of Haiku. This wonderful medium expresses much with very little and the challenge to master this was exciting.  I like other cultures and I like words and so I wrote. I don’t know if I have succeeded in disciplining my use of words the way I should but I don’t care.  Sometimes it is enough to try.  If only the love I feel comes through then it’s enough.  It means I am on track again.

photo 1

White black mountain calls

Resolutions in the mist

Ice on lava fire


No idle hands speak

Occupation is fierce

Beauty in movement



Cherry pink blossom

Blood dissolving on white petals

A joyous harmony


Honour flutters soft

Harsh creations sing a song

Peaceful warrior heart

photo 3

Busy lives encased

Skylines hold concrete glory

Earth ripples power


A smile and warmth abides

Climbing embers reach limits

Cleansing fire rebuilds


IMG_0957 - Copy (2)

Differences fade

West and east under the rain

Misty skins dazzle


Fast lane hunger

Time for history to amble

True essence prevails


Until next time