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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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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Supporting others is a form of gift giving; Meet Claudine Tinellis

mistletoe

The season for giving has arrived once again. These days it all seems to come so soon, a symptom of the times. Everything happens faster. One year follows another before we know it. These days everything comes with a price tag and not being as solvent as I would like to be, I have had to give a good deal of thought about giving. I for one would like to know I am doing some good and not just handing over a present someone may or may not need. Mind you, presents are pretty good.

One of the reasons I like being a writer is the writing community. It is so supportive. In an industry as fickle as this one, as mentally and emotionally demanding, we need support. From the time we turn on the computer, or pull out that notebook, we leave ourselves open to criticism. I decided a while ago that my blog would be the ideal vehicle to give support, and the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. I keep coming across these wonderful people who do such wonderful things, and the idea of sharing this on my blog is exciting. In fact, I am hoping to feature more than other authors and people associated with writing so stay tuned.

The facts are simple. We can’t achieve without support. Well, we can but its messy, painful, frustrating and a long, lonely road. Having support keeps us going, keeps us trying, and my favourite, keeps us improving. It’s not about purchasing the book in the case of writers (that does help hugely by the way); its about having people care what you do and demonstrating it in some fashion, and this applies to any profession. There is always a way to help that that fits into our lives.

Building a profile is one of the hardest areas for writers. A follow on media, a like, and/or a share can make a surprising difference. Every time we acknowledge the existence of that person by doing those things, we are helping. Imagine what can happen when this helping is done by more than one person. Why is it then so many hesitate? I think sometimes people are worried about associations. If I post a like for a fellow author, am I sending out signals that this person is good at what they do? What if they’re not, am I going to look bad? Or is it simply some of us don’t have time?

I don’t know, and I have ceased caring. I just want to help where I can, concentrate on what I can do and not what I don’t understand. I want to talk about people on this blog who also want to do this, and not just in the writing world but artists, poets. I’m still thinking on this. Today’s post features Claudine Tinellis, a lady still to publish her novel, but who is already hard at work supporting others in her industry. She currently runs a podcast (I have included the links) supporting Australian fiction writers, and it is excellent. Keep your eyes on this lady because I am sure we will be hearing a lot from her.

Hi, my name is Claudine Tinellis,

0258Claudine Tinellis

“I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  Even when life took me in a different career direction, I always sought opportunities to write – whether it was as a contributor to legal journals, bulletins and magazines or writing scripts for training and compliance software programs. I relish the idea of creating something out of nothing and… seeing my name in print!

So, when I took a career break to raise my children, I began to think more seriously about what I really wanted to do – and that was to write a novel.  In the midst of that revelation, came the opportunity to work on a ground-breaking project to educate Australians about the health benefits of eating seaweed and raising the profile of the Australian seaweed industry.  And in 2014, “Coastal Chef: Culinary Art of Seaweed & Algae in the 21st Century” (Harbour Publishing House) was born.  I thoroughly enjoyed this heady foray into the publishing industry with “Coastal Chef” and I was fortunate to have met many amazing people along the way. coastal-chef

But fiction writing is where my heart lies. And as a writer and avid reader, I began to think about ways to support Australian publishing and to grow the demand for home-grown writers and their stories.  Earlier this year, I started my own podcast dedicated to shining a spotlight on Australian fiction writers called “Talking Aussie Books”.  Each week, I chat to different Aussie   authors about their books in an effort to get more people thinking about the depth of talent that lies on our own doorstep and to encourage people to read Australian stories.  It’s been an amazing ride so far and one I hope will continue well into the future.

Podcast Claudine
Check out Claudine’s podcast at: www.claudinetinellis.com/episodes or
on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/talking-aussie-books/id1436551976
Follow her on:   www.claudinetinellis.com
Facebook (@claudinetinellisauthor
Instagram (@claudinetinellis

Remember support happens in many ways. Find your way.

Till next time

Barb

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Love, poetry and ideas that inspire

visions

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Looking through some previous work I came across some things I had written regarding genre. I wanted to reassess what motivates me and so I went searching. We need to do this from time to time as a reminder of what we set out to do.

I love the different worlds books offer us, but it seems I am inspired by a consistent idea. If you have followed me at all on social media, you may have noticed I tend to cross genres. Romance, poetry and I am currently working on a thriller.

Yet the common thread is always love, even in my poetry. My latest work is about my love for colour, for nature, for our place on this earth as well as some of the more personal pieces on emotions in general. I love looking at the concept of love. All my characters in my The Unexpected Series, draw strength from love, seek love as a counterpart to understanding, want love so life is shared, demonstrate feelings physically often choosing ways and means that may not suit others.  In brief there is a tiny lean to the darker side of life. Why have I chosen this theme?

Book 2 cover 100px RGB (1)Naively perhaps, I believe that love is the most important thing for us as a human to feel, to share and to be a part of. I honestly believe it is the inability of some to understand love and display it that does so much harm on a local, regional, national and then global level.  I don’t just mean romantic love but parental, the love for friends or colleagues, or the four-footed friends that grace our lives. The Greeks had seven words for love and I thought exploring this in prose would be fun. It was. My leading lady Alexia in Unexpected Passion is Greek, and it felt appropriate. I have used the Greek words; I promise you will understand the meanings from the poem itself. I hope you like this sample enough to want to look at more of my work in my new poetry book Emotions in Evolution. 

Love, it takes all kinds
The bane of our existence.
The reason for our evolution.
The reason for human persistence.
The emotion that lacks solution.
The Ancient Greeks gave us insight.
Separated views of love, have might.
 
Eros was erotic and sexual.
Agape selfless and sacrificial.
Ludus played, flirted, seduced.
Philia to friendship, platonic was reduced.
Pragma we all hope to obtain
for Pragma is shared love and
the one we all hope to retain.
Why not, when it means
long-standing, a couple’s refrain.
And now we move to self-love
or Philautia by name.
A puzzle, often a nuisance from above
when narcissism is the game.
But then self-love can be enabling
giving us a noble redemption
when we lose the ego labelling
with caring as our intention.
And when Storge deems to reveal
we find the best is last
for familial has nothing to conceal
as parent and child, love holds fast.
 
What now, we ask?
Do divisions ease the task?
But love remains the eternal mystery
controlling lives all through our history.

Lia for postSome of my characters are unsure of love and what it means in their lives. In Unexpected Obsession Lia accepts it, allows it to grow, to exist but Nico fights calling it love, is afraid of what it may mean to his life. When he finds the courage to embrace it, Nico finds his life changes in ways he had no preparation for, ways in which life takes on a new meaning.

Nico - CopyHe has someone with whom he can be himself, and it adds a dimension to the physical without relying on frills, yes frills and not thrills. Thrills are a given if done right, frills are toys, fine unless you have to rely on them.

I guess poetry, thriller or even the science fiction flapping around in my brain will always have the idea of love meandering through their pages. After all contemporary romance is a much-loved sibling.

 

mybook.to/EmotionsinEvolution
EmotionsinEvolutionKOBO
EmotionsinEvolution Barnes and Noble
Emotions in Evolution Smashwords

Chris original finish green 1 Amazon

Ciao for now

Barb

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The Buds

The Buds

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Can anyone relate to the frustrated desire to fix things when they go wrong and end up taking that desire too far? I mean as in wasting time too far?  Sometimes we have to prove we can make it right even after understanding the mistake is there, and it’s too far gone to fix. Call it stubboness, foolishness, correction fixation or whatever word best suits you but ultimately it is a waste of time when better things are waiting.

 Hanging onto a job you hate, a marriage or a relationship that is hurting you, buying six other pieces of clothing to make the pants work that should not have been bought in the first place, living the ‘j’ word over and over (you know, justifying) are all self-harming but we do it. Maybe, we shouldn’t, maybe it’s time to say stop and let another Spring begin instead. What do you think?

The buds
 Rustling winds call my name
and awaken me to play the game.
I slowly dress
and to myself confess
though the rules seem less,
nothing seems the same.
Whirling wheels of distant blame
Reluctantly decide to claim
the fading lights
of long-lost flights,
and unwanted plights
leading back to covert shame.
To the recesses of yesterday
I banish all dead flowers.
Let them rest where they may
And allow new buds their untried powers.

GetBook.at/EmotionsinEruption

A piu presto,

Barb

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The Cabbage Patch Doll

cabbage patch

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I think children are such a gift and grandchildren even more so. Watching them grow and develop their own personalities is a fascinating process. It is the continuation of life, and observing the repeated features of loved ones reflected in the turn of the head, the shape of the eyes, or just a look, is magic unfolding.

But wait, there is more. The best part is when they are entirely new in their actions and behaviours  and you really understand this is an independent creation – a miracle of life.

The Cabbage Patch Doll
I saw it first as small
and sweet.
I saw it then get
on its feet.
Giant steps,
giant words.
The doll-like creature
had an adult-like feature.
I cried and cried
And thought I’d died.
Giant steps,
giant words,
until the human hands
back from the foreign lands
opened up to reveal
what suddenly I could feel.
The cabbage patch now was full.
I let myself enjoy the pull.
Now I watch the dolls at play
and happily keep the tears at bay.

 

GetBook.at/EmotionsinEruption

Alla prossima

Barb