Thought-Provoking Fiction


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No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I don’t have favourites! I love all my three kids with all my heart.

LG with THO 500But I think of my books as my children too. I went through a long gestation period with each one of them, labour pains, a birthing experience, infancy, etc. Some of my books are now adolescents – gosh, they grow up quickly! And some of them are still just toddling around…

But I love all of them – the journey they took me on, the insights, the growth, the sheer joy when people like you write back to thank me for them.

So this is...

* my thank you to YOU for your support since I started publishing my work.

* my best wishes and blessings to you for a rich and fulfilling festive season and New Year.

And it comes in the form of a gift to you that simultaneously gives some extra love to my most overlooked book-child: The Hidden Order.

This sequel to The Mastery Club was published in 2012 at a time when I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, so I never really got its promotional campaign moving properly. And it’s a pity because this is the book that took the longest to write of all my books because it required so much inner work on my part. I think of it as a hidden treasure…

Between now and 7th January I’m offering The Hidden Order at half-price. That’s only $10 for a book that follows up on all the meaty ideas in The Mastery Club, and then takes them way further.

It’s about some of the tricker aspects of goal-setting.

It tackles some of life’s biggest issues, like war and peace, health and illness. (A favourite character has cancer.)

It claims that life only looks cruel and unfair because actually there’s a ‘hidden order’ at work.

It includes a puberty rite of passage for girls and a medicine walk.

It includes an indigenous character and his confronting ‘identity journey’. (Based on a true story.)

It includes a Greek Islands cruise. (I set that up in The Mastery Club so that I’d have to go on one ‘for research’ in order to write the sequel. Clever, huh! :-))

And so much more.

If you or your children enjoyed The Mastery Club and found yourself wondering what those characters might get up to next, then this book is for you. Give yourself or your loved ones a very well-priced gift and help me to love up my most overlooked child!

Your code for the half-price deal is 

woman heelsYou’ve probably been at least partially following the conversation about domestic violence, the ‘Me too’ movement, sexual predators and their unveiling, etc. Perhaps you’ve also heard these statistics: ‘Some 42% of Australians believe women lie about being sexually assaulted, while 31% said a lot of times, women who said they were raped had “led the man on” then had regrets.'*

I don’t know how accurate those statistics are but something that always jars for me is the tendency to polarise life into black and white, this or that. It seems to me that life is much more about ‘and’ than ‘or’ because everything is related.

For example, space and time – they are not discrete states but are related; the truer expression is ‘space-time’. At any point in time we are simultaneously at a point in space, and vice versa. Likewise with ‘mind and body’ – ‘mind-body’ or ‘body-mind’ are far more accurate because the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind. They loop back and forth. They are one whole rather than two separates.

Back to those statistics: do we have to separate women into two discrete categories: those who said yes and those who said no? What about the shades of grey? What about those who said yes to begin with and then changed their minds as the experience became unpleasant for them? Knowing how life and people and relationships actually are, isn’t that more realistic?

Surely this middle ground, where a woman was keen to begin with and then changed her mind, doesn’t mean she is a slut! To my mind it means that something happened that caused doubt or discomfort and she needed to withdraw from the experience. She is entitled to change her mind – and not just because she is a woman, because a man is also entitled to change his mind. Anyone is entitled to change their mind in the realm of sex! ‘No’ means ‘no’ whenever it occurs and wherever it occurs.

Women shouldn’t be shamed for changing their minds. It’s ridiculous to try to force these real-life situations into a category of either consent or no consent when natural human relationships are subject to change and flux. Consent and then no consent are quite valid inside the same experience! We all know that things change as moods change, as more alcohol is consumed, as realisations dawn, etc.

I imagine that women are having to lie in order to avoid being accused of ‘leading him on’, but where’s the common sense in that? Surely it’s a fairly common and normal life experience to believe something is going to be good, begin down that path and then realise it’s not what you expected and want to withdraw? What’s wrong with that?

The lying and shaming that results from unrealistic expectations of human behaviour are really unnecessary. Unrealistic expectations occur because we don’t engage in common sense education. It’s urgently needed.

If two in five Australian women are going to be physically or sexually assaulted at some point in their adult life, then communication and conflict resolution skills are urgently needed in our school curriculum.

From Prep to Year 12.

As a compulsory subject alongside Maths and English.

Because everyone needs to be able to communicate, whoever you are and whatever your likely occupation.

If this is sounding familiar, it’s because this is my current hobby horse. I’m an advocate for Common Sense Skills in Schools: Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills, Goal-setting and Achievement Skills, Self-Awareness and Personal Mastery, Mindfulness, and Money Management.

For more on what I offer in this domain, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website to download your free report.

* This quote is taken from an article in The Conversation: 'Four In Ten Australians Think Women Lie About Being Victims of Sexual Assault' by Kristin Diemer, Anastasia Powell and Kim Webster.

** Photo credit: publik16 on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

SISTOMelbourne is shocked by the apparently random death of Sisto Malaspina of Pellegrini’s café in Bourke Street – murdered in the course of trying to help someone.

Coming to grips with this shocking event reminds me of the process I went through in trying to understand the concept of divine order when I was writing The Hidden Order.

sad childYears ago I read Getting the Love You Want by therapist and educator Harville Hendrix, and was really impressed. His book guides couples through a ten-week course designed to resolve their relationship problems. As the blurb on his book explains, Hendrix ‘shows how your frustrations originated in unmet childhood needs, and how you are unwittingly trying to resolve them with childhood tactics.’

piggybankI was stunned and deeply troubled recently to hear about a friend’s financial circumstances. From beginning married life with a $10,000 mortgage some twenty years ago, today she and her husband are burdened by a mortgage in the hundreds of thousands for the same suburban three-bedroom unit.

plant growth through woodHave you heard about Leigh Sales’s new book? Any Ordinary Day is about the ABC TV host’s experiences in going from what she describes as a ‘charmed life’ to a string of crises that have left her feeling fearful about the future.

round tableFollowing the debacle in Australian federal politics over the last few years, and particularly the last couple of months – and now we have a crisis in the ABC – it occurs to me that a refreshing change would be national leadership via principles rather than personality.

love blossomsIt’s great to see so many schools proclaiming their values via big colourful posters around the campus on subjects to do with kindness and fairness and honesty and tolerance, and I have no doubt that teachers and principals repeatedly emphasise these values when they address students, but what about actual regular skill development?

books readingI submitted my books to this list and thought I'd share it with you as there are several other titles here that will be sure to appeal. 

The topics include money, relationships, anger, living intentionally, success and more.

I'd love to know which books you would recommend.

 

Talking troubledMost of us have a personal story that we re-energise regularly by telling others. Sometimes it’s an empowering story but often we repeat tales of our bad luck or flaws or how things aren’t working out for us. Since ‘what we feed, grows’, it makes sense to be telling stories about our character strengths.

sick in bedDuring my novel-writing course one student explained her absence the previous week with the excuse that she had ‘the plague’. Quite acceptable in the middle of winter. 

Another student justified her lack of writing progress with a blush and the comment that a past lover had come back into her life – they’d been burning the candle at both ends. The whole class thoroughly enjoyed this excuse – there was lots of laughter and envy. 

Tahnee WoolfDid you know that there are 10 Terrains of Consciousness, and if you and your partner inhabit different ones, you might have trouble communicating?

If you’ve been following my story you know that my life changed significantly after writing Wanted: Greener Grass (ironically a book in which I talk about the illusion of ‘greener grass’…).

Hautvillers Dagonet 4The honeymoon was wonderful! We flew into Paris and visited Versailles – drove up to Reims to explore the gorgeous villages (and cellars) of the Champagne region – explored some of the chateaux along the River Loire – stayed with a delightful couple deep in the Limoges region of France where we somehow managed a rich conversation with their patchy English and my patchy French – explored the medieval city of Carcassonne… dropped into Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence – met and stayed with wonderful warm and open-hearted family in Cannes – realised a dream in Monte Carlo and on Lake Como – and discovered the Swiss Alps via train on the final leg of our adventure.