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Thought-Provoking Fiction


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If you think you need a cracker up your bum to start taking money more seriously, watch this 3-minute video that features Camilla Mendoza, the passionate creator of Money Mastery For Teens and the instigator of the Quest For Riches novel, in which Swedish students talk about their relationship with money and what they are learning from Money Mastery For Teens and Quest For Riches.

MMFT video image

(NB. If you'd like to recommend Quest For Riches to your school, you can share the book review (below) by Ann Ruckert of the South Australian English Teachers Association (SAETA).)

To buy a book for yourself, your kids, your clients, or to give the gift of financial intelligence: https://lilianegrace.com/store or Amazon et al.

  • And if you'd like to spread the information even further, request it at your library or local bookshop!

Here's the latest reader's comment: "I'm reading 'Quest ' and loving it. We are just approaching the Taj Mahal. Love your architectural insights."

(That's kind of funny, since my 'insights' were very Wiki-informed! But in October 2020 I'm going to India – and you can come with me!)

 

 SAETA BOOK REVIEW:

Quest for Riches (2nd Edition) by Liliane Grace (in collaboration with Camilla Mendoza and Money Mastery for Teens)

This highly engaging book tells the story of four fifteen-year-old school students (Toni, Brooke, Eric and Jackson) who participate in a school trip to India. We follow their journey as they raise the funds necessary and travel to India and home again. Their adventures include visiting many famous tourist sites as well as Dobhi Ghat, the world’s largest laundry; travelling on overcrowded, smelly public transport; tasting a wide range of ‘new’ foods; experiencing a two-night homestay (each staying with a different family from different backgrounds) and succumbing to Delhi belly. Along the way, we are given insights into how each student thinks, feels and reacts to the different experiences encountered.

Written for young adults who want to flourish financially, this book will engage readers of all ages, providing lessons about money management and our ability to create wealth as well as a number of other social and ethical issues. Each chapter concludes with a number of questions relating to the subject matter of the chapter; and no, this is not reading comprehension, but a chance for readers to think and relate the students’ experiences to themselves. Each student, and their family, relates to money differently and the final two pages describe the four ‘money personalities’ where the reader will, without a doubt, find him/herself.

Containing beautiful descriptions of the colourful, vivid, overwhelming, disconcerting and remarkable country that is India with the ever-present undercurrent of managing our money, this is a book that all teenagers should read in order to better understand how to gain financial independence.

Ages: 13 – 18 years
2019, 310pp, p/b.
ISBN 9780648562436
Reviewed by Ann Ruckert

 

QFR smaller high resThis is a sJacob egg pichout-out to artist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the brilliant cover he illustrated for Quest For Riches. The captivating egg is of one of his other ‘practice illustrations’. He was experimenting with light…

I’d actually first asked Jacob to create a new cover for The Mastery Club,

All booksI often hear people say that they don’t read fiction – it’s too ‘fictional’! They prefer real-life content and books that focus (seriously) on current issues or research rather than ‘made up stuff’. 

But what they don’t realise is that more and more studies are finding that reading fiction develops the brain and awareness in ways that non-fiction doesn’t.

Any reading is good for us, of course – it develops our vocabularies and general knowledge – but reading meaty, character-driven fiction enables us to share the minds and emotions of others and to ‘live many lives’.

I’m absolutely chuffed to announce that Touch Of Spirit Tours is hosting a Creative Writing Tour through North India – with me as the writing facilitator!

QFRLaunch MelaMela Joy, the founder of this company, was one of my sources when I was researching India for Quest For Riches. Right after the book launch she came to me with the idea of a trip that would be interwoven with a creative writing course.

I was particularly delighted because I just love the way that my life echoes my art!

  • After writing The Mastery Club, I ‘had to’ go to the Greek Islands to research The Hidden Order J
  • After writing Wanted: Greener Grass, my new husband came into my life…
  • After writing Quest For Riches, it looks like I’ll be heading to India!

What magic might you create in your life?

Schools around Australia are celebrating books and writing and authors and the imagination starting tomorrow for the Children's Book Council of Australia's annual BOOK WEEK! 

If you're the parent of a younger child, you've probably been roped into making a costume of one of their favourite book characters. I was very chuffed a few years ago to receive a photo of a girl dressed as Nina from The Mastery Club! A green wig was the key to that costume :-)

This week an article in the Herald Sun declared that 'Aussie kids were scammed out of more than $170,000 last year according to the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission scam activity report' – significantly up from previous years. Suncorp behavioural economist, Phil Slade, said 'Kids were particularly susceptible to being ripped off by dodgy operators' and 'One of the best ways to help our kids avoid being scammed is to teach them financial literacy skills at an early age, to help them question things when dealing with money.' 

bookcase booksProbably one of the questions I am asked the most often is, 'How are book sales going?' 

Those who ask are genuinely interested and caring and want the best for me, but when book sales are trickling it's an uncomfortable question to answer.

Sales for the majority of self-published author are usually quite low; I remember my printer of The Mastery Club telling me that it was rare for self-published authors to return for multiple print runs in the quantity and frequency that I was doing. Even more rare are the international bestseller results. These low sales are why the average Australian self-published author earns about $11,000 per annum...

So let me give you the best question you can ask a self-published author. Banish 'How are book sales going?' and instead ask, 'What can I do to help?'

Don't worry – no one is going to expect you to go door-knocking! But with just a few moments of reflection you will probably come up with at least one simple way in which you can help. For example, you might...

• be will willing to read the book and post a review on Amazon or Goodreads – worth gold to the new author!
• give the book a plug on your socials or your website – also worth gold!
• think of someone who might be interested in the author's book and offer to let them know about it;
• buy a(nother) copy as a gift;
• know of a friendly bookstore owner who might be open to stocking it;
• request that your library order it in;
• recommend it to your local school;
• know of a teacher or other relevant specialist who might be interested in it;
• know of a book club that might be open to reading it;
• know of a group that is seeking a speaker;
• be friends with someone in the media who could interview the author;
• be able to suggest a podcast they could approach for an interview...

If you really love the book, you could even offer to become an affiliate, whereby you make a commission on each sale you make.

There are so many ways in which you can help. I'd love to hear from you about my latest book, Quest For Riches (or any of the others!). Truly, the best way you can help me or others is not by showing interest but by demonstrating it. And for that, I know we would all be deeply grateful. And if you have more ideas, please comment below! Thank you.

 

I promised to give the backstory to Quest For Riches, so here it is:

Camilla2Camilla Mendoza had been working with divorcées as a mortgage broker when she realised she had to do something about the number of women telling her that they left all money management and financial decisions to their husbands. Determined to change that dynamic, she created a workshop called ‘Money Mastery For Women’. Before long, those women were asking her to create a similar workshop for their children – and ‘Money Mastery For Teens’ was born.

Ludwina redSuccessful entrepreneur Ludwina Dautovic was one of the guest speakers at the launch of Quest For Riches. I wanted to share with you more of her comments as they are so pertinent for anyone who wants to teach their kids the value of money. Ludwina kindly gave me her entire talk to publish here. Enjoy! If you'd like to share, please give credit. Ludwina Dautovic:

My adult children are 27 and 24. As a young mother I didn’t have a good example of how to teach our children about money. There was a continual message in my childhood home that we couldn’t afford things. My parents were generous with what they had, but they struggled financially and expressed that often.

QFR launchSunday’s launch was a blast! We had a packed room, a great vibe, some compelling speakers and yummy food. Thank you to all who came to support, whether you were helping set up, or speaking, or buying books – or whether you were a supporter in the research phase! I am very grateful. 

We began the event with a few sobering statistics: 

The four teenagers in Quest For Riches head to India on a school trip. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do the same – although if my Mastery Club/Hidden Order/Greek Islands experience is any indication, it won’t be long! – so I sought out Indians and people who have spent sustained time in India to guide me.

You’ll have an opportunity to meet some of those generous people at the launch on 30th June, but meanwhile I want to give them a big shout-out here: 

Details in the 'Read More' but meanwhile the names of these generous people are:

Himanshi Munshaw-Luhar of Beacon Holidays and Foodie Trails
Mela Joy, Founder of Touch of Spirit Tours
Rose Witherow
Carmel Scaringi
Surya/Guy Coape-Smith
Shyam Burman, Director of Primary Toys

and I'd like to thank Shyama Sasidharan for a great interview on Malayalam TV! 

Way back in the 90s when I was home educating my children I met a powerhouse of a home-schooling mum whose sharp mind and impressive achievements absolutely caught my attention. While the other families were primarily focused on their children, this woman was also juggling a business, learning to sing and renovating a house. 
 
Ludwina Dautovic and I hit it off. Our shared family, education, personal growth and business values synched. She read The Mastery Club and loved it, and I attended (and spoke at) her Red Tent Women’s Networking events. We’ve moved in and out of each other’s lives ever since. 
 
But there’s one conversation I’ll never forget and it’s the reason I’ve asked her to be featured guest speaker at my Quest For Riches book launch on 30th June.
 
Ludwina was telling me about her parenting values and they were so full of practical wisdom that I took some notes. In particular, I was fascinated by her strategy for her children’s financial education, which included giving the kids cash and the shopping list and having them take over at the supermarket. It also included sitting them down to a very clear understanding of the family income and all expenses. This transparency stemmed from Ludwina's primary parenting belief that we’re ‘raising adults, not children’.
 
I modelled on her: I gave my kids cash and the shopping list and noticed how their eyes shone as they shouldered the responsibility. And I incorporated her example of a mother revealing 'private' family income and expenses to educate her daughters in the novel that Ludwina is going to help launch.
 
I hope you’ll come along on 30th June to our St Kilda launch (details below) to benefit from Ludwina’s ideas, wisdom and energy. She has been a successful entrepreneur for 24 years, having started her journey in 1995 producing and presenting television for cable TV. She also produced innovative and creative video content for businesses in the retail and service industries, and was commissioned to produce media training for schools across Australia.
 
As the digital era arose, she was all in. Always on the cusp of innovation, Ludwina was one of the first B2B podcasters and interviewed the CEOs of major corporations worldwide. She wrote and self-published her first book, It’s That Easy – Online Marketing 3.0, and then combined her technological expertise and business experience to provide advisory services to businesses developing their brand online. 
 
Recently I was invited to the launch of her newest venture – at which time I also discovered that she is a very accomplished self-taught portrait artist! The new venture is compelling: it is a social enterprise that connects empty, spare bedrooms with people who need access to affordable and accessible housing. Called 'The Room Xchange’, it’s a win-win housing solution that’s changing the way people live.
 
In her role as Founder and CEO of The Room Xchange, Ludwina has successfully completed her first capital raise and is now embarking on her second with the aim of leading the company toward a global market. 
 
Ludwina is not only a keen investor in emerging and innovative technologies but she is passionate about disruptive market leadership. Come along on 30th June and get ready to be disrupted!
 
We're celebrating
at 1/118 Carlisle Street East St Kilda (upstairs, above Vegelicious)
from 2.30 to 4.30 pm
Delicious (Indian-themed) refreshments will be supplied.
RSVP essential for catering purposes (by 23rd June):This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0407 901 008 or via  Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-launch-novel-about-financial-literacy-for-teens-tickets-62029745639
 
You can connect with Ludwina on Linkedin:
<< https://www.linkedin.com/in/ludwinadautovic/>>
Learn about www.theroomxchange.com


I hope to see you and your family, friends, children, students... on Sunday 30th June for a warm and stimulating afternoon.

QFR 3D coverIf you’ve been thinking things like:

  • • ‘I really should pay more attention to my finances’
  • • ‘I wish I knew how to manage money better’
  • • ‘Why is so-and-so doing so much better than me when we’ve come from the same sort of background?’ or
  • • ‘How do I get my kids to understand the importance of saving/the danger of plastic/the financial risks of keeping up with the Joneses?

you will be delighted to hear that my novel teaching financial literacy to teenagers (and their families) is finally OFFICIALLY LAUNCHING!!!!!

Quest For Riches – 4 teenagers discover the keys to wealth and prosperity gives your kids/family/students the opportunity to effortlessly increase their financial intelligence while reading a novel.

Stand by for your invitation and meanwhile please hold Sunday 30th June, 2.30 – 4.30 in your diary for a blast of an event!

We have three guest speakers lined up who have either achieved impressive results financially or have a unique window on how Australian families are doing monetarily (and the little things they can do to make a big difference).

You can expect the usual delicious wholesome refreshments – with an Indian theme! – and the opportunity to warm up a winter’s afternoon mingling with like-minded people, learning, laughing and supporting a worthy venture.

Stand by for more information or get your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in to me immediately! Woohoo!

facesThis statement was made recently by a passionate speaker during a current affairs interview. It doesn’t matter who she is – she gave voice to a popular point of view. But I disagree.

I think the reason that statement is made is because it seems to justify bullying and people hate that idea, understandably. We don’t want to align ourselves with those who deliberately set out to hurt others.

But there’s a word missing in the above statement, and that word makes all the difference. The missing word is ‘always’: ‘Bullying is not always character-building.’

In other words, our response to the event determines if it will be character-building or not. If we choose to be defeated by the event, our character will not grow; if we choose to deal with it in a more useful manner, our character will grow. It’s as simple as that. Nothing is either good or bad; it’s our response that defines it. Every event is neutral until we place a meaning on it.

Some people will object. They’ll say that cruelty and aggression and violence are always and only evil. But if you can extract some good, some insight, something positive from that bad event, it’s not purely evil.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl is probably the definitive text on this topic: if you can survive a concentration camp and come out of it as a richer human being, then the event itself is not the whole truth about it. As this famous quote states:

"We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Viktor Frankl spent three years in concentration camps and lost his parents, his brother, and his pregnant wife. If anyone has the right to make the claim that a hellish experience can be enriching, it is he.

His conclusion was that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. If we have a purpose we can live through even the most horrendous experiences, and come out the other end not as a cripple but as a stronger, more compassionate human being.

Apparently one-quarter of young Australians (those aged 14-25) are bullied;
36% of those are bullied online;
16% turn to drugs and alcohol;
23% are in the care of a GP or mental health professional;
six men under 25 years commit suicide each day.

But more people are speaking out. More effort is being made to understand and address these issues. And all of those energies and efforts are the ‘good’ that come out of the ‘bad’.

It seems to me that an important distinction needs to be made between process and outcome. The process of being bullied and dealing with that experience is unpleasant – for sure. But if the right attitudes and actions are taken to it, the outcome can be positive.

A young woman on the same current affairs programs said that when the bullying took the form of writing (online), it was ‘terrifying’ and ‘damaging for a long time’. But the terror and the damage are not inherent in the bullying; they occur in the response.

I deeply believe that Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills need to be taught in schools as a core curriculum subject from Prep to Year 12 because EVERYONE needs those skills, whatever their particular interests and vocational direction. This subject should be taught several times a week. It should take precedence over most other subjects because without these skills we can’t properly maximise our potential.

The widely respected and controversial public thinker Jordan Peterson made the statement in one of his podcasts that we are all responsible for the Columbine shootings. In particular, he said, those who bullied the shooters over the four years prior are also responsible for the deaths of all students and staff in that incident.

We will not resolve the issues of bullying, workplace harrassment, domestic violence or even terrorism if we play ‘Goodies and Baddies’. To say that all bullies are bad and the bullied are innocent victims is a mistake and not useful. What is needed here is skill-development – for both sides of the equation. And a big dose of honesty, since we’ve all played both roles.

Bullying CAN be character-building; it’s up to us to determine its effect.

Please do comment (below) and share (with attribution) if you feel this blog would be useful to others. NB Picture courtesy Visual Hunt.