The Countdown is On!

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‘An engaging, challenging and ultimately uplifting guide on how to live a compassionate life in our consumerist times.’

 

My personal stock of Buddhism for Meat Eaters arrived today and they are gorgeous! I’m still so in love with the cover and the addition of sparkly gold highlights on the finished copies really make it irresistible.

Some stock will start appearing in bookshops over the next couple of weeks, though the official release day is July 1, where all good books are sold.

You can also pre-order and/or purchase it online at Booktopia, Amazon, Bookworld, Dymocks, and Book Depository (with FREE international shipping).

For your chance to win a copy from me, make sure you are signed up to my email newsletter to find out how.

I look forward to sharing ideas on compassionate living with you very soon.

 

 

Vale, Bucket, the Biggest Bucket of Love We’ve Known

Image-15These posts are never easy to write, but I need to write them. Although our animal’s lives cannot ever be adequately summarised, I still feel the need to write each pet’s eulogy, to try just a tiny bit, to honour what they gave us in life, and to honour the grief we feel. This one is for our cat Bucket, who passed away last week from a swift and aggressive illness, the cause of which heartbreakingly remains unknown. The unanswered questions about his death–and I have many–haunt me, but this piece is not about Bucket’s death, but his wonderful life.

Bucket was named such because from the moment I picked him up–a skinny, horribly flea-infested, unwanted kitten that was being all but given away on a cold morning in Kingaroy (his price was a mere $3) he proved himself to be the biggest bucket of love I’ve ever met in a cat. He was one of three, all brothers, and my hubby and I were torn as to whether to take one kitten or all three. We started by picking up each one, to get a vibe. The first one struggled to be put down, so we put him down. The second one pushed us away, so we let him go. The third one practically crawled up our arms and clung on for dear life. Take me home, right now! So we did. I took him to the bedroom and closed the door and sat down in the corner of the room to give him some space to investigate his new home. He didn’t want space, though, he wanted me. He climbed right back into my lap and made no efforts to leave.

Being utterly infested with fleas, I had to go to the local vet to see what to do. At his tender age, the only thing I could do was give him a medicated bath. He didn’t like that one bit, and I had to do it multiple times before all those awful fleas were gone, but finally he was relieved of them. We lived in a rural location at the time, on six acres, surrounded by other acreages. We already had another cat (Jasmine), two dogs, and three horses. He was my first kitten in ten years and I had forgotten how absolutely delightful kittens were. Pure joy. (Except for the amount of times he climbed up my legs! I wore nothing but jeans for a year to protect myself.)

Bucket’s first love was cuddling, but he didn’t just receive hugs, he actively hugged back.

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His second love was mischief. At these times, our ‘bucket of love’ became a ‘bucket of trouble’. He loved the dogs, love being very much a verb, an action. He would sneak up behind them and grab onto their tails, swinging off them in a rollicking jaunt while they ran around trying to dislodge him. He would come out to the lawn with us while we threw tennis balls for the retrievers. He raced them down the hill and always got to the ball first, but as he couldn’t pick it up in his mouth, he let them pick it up and then he raced them back up the hill, where we got the ball back and threw it again and the game would start anew. When he was still less than a year old, my stepmother visited us with her poodle puppy, and Bucket and Cocoa spent an hour chasing each other up and down the hallway before locking onto each other, somersaulting over one another, wrestling enthusiastically until they both collapsed, panting with exhaustion and happiness.

These days, all our cats are one hundred per cent indoor cats, but back when Bucket was younger, he got some time to range outside on the property during the day. We started to rethink this idea when two days in a row he discovered a baby hare, killed it and brought it back into the house, happily devouring its intestines. Not long after that, our third cat Sapphy, a stray who walked in off the street not long after Bucket arrived, was bitten by a brown snake and spent a week in hospital, and we closed the door to outdoor excursions.

Because we have so many animals, it’s difficult for us to go away, but on the odd occasion it’s happened, we’ve had to have house sitters come to look after our furry family, and everyone reported that Bucket struggled with our absence the most. He was a cat who needed his cuddles.

He was a generous soul, and over his life with us he accepted into the home two more dogs, four more cats and a human baby with maturity and grace. He was one of those magnanimous animals, with love to spare for all. He was our biggest cat (part Manx, was always my suspicion)–very long from nose to tail, a hefty seven kilos at his peak, a ball of muscle beneath all that soft fur, the kind of cat you could sling over your shoulder, fireman style–with a huge heart inside.

For ten years, he was our most loving, affectionate, cuddly boy, a ginormous bucket of love. He’s gone too soon and we miss him terribly, but we know we were so blessed to have had him in our home and life. I am proud to say he had a good life, a really good one. He gave joy and he received it and I know he knew he was loved hard till the very end.

His ashes will be back soon, and he will go in the garden next to Daisy, his most favourite canine friend.

Buddhism for Meat Eaters… Why I Wrote It

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In just over a month, my second non-fiction title will be on the shelf (2 July). The dilemmas, struggles and answers included in Buddhism for Meat Eaters were ones that had been brewing for around thirty years. I always wanted to be vegetarian (preferably vegan) but my physical body did not agree. I was left with a constant sense of guilt, shame and grief over this struggle–my spirit was willing but my body wasn’t.

For years I kept a journal, thinking I could wrestle out this conflict on the page, until years later I had to accept that I had no answers. I put the journal away, and carried on with my life, never have found the peace I craved.

Then one day, I was lying awake in the middle of the night. It was a full moon and I often struggle to sleep during that lunar phase. I can’t even remember what I was thinking about specifically, but somewhere between midnight and two am, it was like the decades of struggle finally made sense. All the threads came together, and I’d finally begun to find peace in the last place I expected to uncover it: Buddhism.

I jumped up and grabbed by laptop and wrote out a page, then sent it to my agent. This! I wrote. This is what I want to write about! For the record, I don’t actually recommend you send your agent/publisher wild ramblings at two o’clock in the morning as a way of pitching an idea, but in this case, it worked. Haylee said she loved it, asked me to write out some sample chapters, began pitching it before I’d finished writing it, and I was blown away to find that it sold so quickly. Clearly, my struggles with eating meat were not unique to me. There was a market for this book. Certainly, by the number of you who have left me comments saying things like This book was written for me or I need this so much or I can’t wait to read this, I am absolutely not alone in this quandary.

Ultimately, this book is one of hope, of healing and making peace with your body, mind, plate and world. If you are drawn to it, I hope it brings you as much encouragement as it did me.

Jo x

p.s. I love this cover so much. It was designed by Lisa White, who also designed the cover for my first novel, The Tea Chest. I think Lisa truly gets my vibe.

 

Movie Review, Top End Wedding

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There’s a lot to love in this Australian romantic comedy. It’s funny, heartwarming, entertaining and has magnificent scenery, including locations in Darwin, Katherine Gorge, Tiwi Islands and Kakadu.

Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and her fiancé (Gwilym Lee) leave their life in Adelaide to fly to Darwin to get married, but upon arriving discover that Lauren’s mother Daffy (Ursula Yovich) has left the family with no explanation. Lauren’s father (Huw Higginson) is heartbroken, preferring to lock himself away in the pantry, while listening to sad songs, and brings us many great moments.

This film is about families–building them, grieving them, celebrating them, mending them. The Australian film and television industry is relatively small and with lean budgets, and I have always felt this works in our favour because when we make a production we generally do them well, with strong scripts and strong acting, and this one is no exception.

Top End Wedding is total joy.

This film is rated M but it could easily have been rated PG, in my opinion. There’s no sex, no violence and the few instances of the f-word are covered over by external noise.

Verdict:  Go see it!

 

Why Taylor Swift and Benjamin Button Are Inspiration for Us All

Taylor Swift recently adopted a homeless kitten while on set filming her new clip for Me! and it has us purring with delight. Firstly, let’s talk about the adorable kitten, now called Benjamin Button, who is melting the internet with his gorgeousness.

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Check out those eyes!!

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It’s no secret we love cats, with numerous rescues in our family, and we also love Taylor, so this news made us extra happy. Also, Benjamin is an inspiration. What an amazing symbol of hope he is.

Here he was a homeless kitten, a potentially bleak future. His first stroke of good luck came when he ended up in the hands of a rescue organisation. But then he found himself on the film set with one of the most influential, wealthy and kind-hearted women on the planet. And in her words, “…he looks at me like, ‘You’re my mum, and we’re going to live together.’ I fell in love… He literally looked at me like, ‘Adopt me please.’ And I was like, ‘Okay I’m going to do that.”

We too have had that moment of locking eyes with a cat and knowing our fates lay together. Sometimes stuff really does happen for a reason.

Bravo to Benjamin, whose future could well have included starvation, accidents, violence or euthanasia, but instead (in true cat style) decided that that life wasn’t for him, that his situation in life had nothing to do with his self-worth, that he deserved better, and that hey, he might as well aim for not just any home but possibly the best possible cat home on the planet.

And brava to Taylor Swift for listening to inner voice that said she and this little guy were meant for each other. Now that’s a love story we can get onboard with.

100-book Raffle Winners!

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 8.28.10 amToday’s the day!
 
The Authors for Townsville Raffle has been drawn.
 
Thank you to all who entered this competition. With your help we raised just over $6,000 for this worthy cause for GIVIT. And a HUGE thank you to the generous authors who donated their books, without which we wouldn’t have had a raffle at all! I’ve no doubt the money will be well used and appreciated by the people who need it most.
 
Winners:
 
1st prize: Janine A
2nd prize: Sarah H
3rd prize: Gillian D
 
I have sent you all an email to let you know and to confirm your postal address.
 
Authors, I will email you as soon as we have address confirmation. X
 
💜

Brisbane Writing Workshops, May 2019

How do you find ideas for stories, and what do you do with them once you have them? How do you write a bestselling novel? This year, I’m delighted to be running two writing workshops in Brisbane in May at Twelfth Night Theatre.

Do you…

  • Have an idea that’s been hanging around that you’d like to bring to life somehow?
  • Struggle to find story idea, or have the opposite problem and have too many ideas?
  • Struggle to work out what format to put your idea into or what to do with it once it’s finished?
  • Have a burning desire to write a novel?
  • Have a half-finished (or quarter-finished) novel that you need some help to finish?
  • Want to have fun, feel creative, meet up with other creatives?
  • Just want to escape the family and the Brisbane heat for a weekend, eat some chocolate and maybe make a new friend?

I can help!

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Workshop 1: Bringing Your Ideas to Life. How do you find ideas for stories and what do you do with them once you find them? Josephine will guide you through the process of discovering ideas for stories, accessing research and resources, breathing life into words, and then pulling them into some sort of order to get them onto the page. She’ll also help you to work out what sort of writer you might be, which will help you know what to do with your ideas. She’ll cover different types of structure to suit different outcomes and foundational skills in the requirements of a good story.

Workshop 2: How to Write a Bestselling Novel. There isn’t one single way to write a bestseller but there are definitely common elements you can learn. Bring your idea for a novel and Josephine will show you how to plot it out to keep the pages turning, build strong characters and guide you through the foundations of self-editing. This interactive day will see you leave with a bounty of information to set you up for success.

You can book in for either event or attend both for a discount. As well, I’ll give everyone who comes along a complimentary copy of The Gift of Life to take home!

Click here for bookings.