Story Dogs: sponsoring Sunshine Beach State School

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.05.27 pmThe saying goes that children who read become adults who think, and this year I am once again delighted to continue my sponsorship of a Story Dogs human–dog team. I am exceptionally lucky to be sponsoring Mercedes and Cleo who visit Sunshine Beach State School to assist early readers with their confidence by extending a paw and hand of support!

Mercedes and Cleo, I hope you have a wonderful year together with your young reading friends!

New non-fiction, ‘Buddhism for Meat Eaters’, coming July 2019

BUDDHISM_FINALAnd now for something completely different… Coming in July from Simon & Schuster Australia is my second non-fiction title and they have done a beautiful job with this book. Two books hitting the shelves this year. Lucky me!

The blurb reads:

“An engaging, challenging and contemplative guide on how to live a compassionate life in a consumerist era.

For many years, Josephine Moon struggled with the question of eating meat; fervently wishing to live as a vegetarian yet requiring meat in her diet. From Josephine’s philosophical, spiritual and physical battle with eating meat came, Buddhism for Meat Eaters – a book for animal lovers, the environmentally and ethically conscious, and generally thoughtful people who eat meat but perhaps aren’t entirely comfortable doing so.

Open, honest and utterly without judgement, Buddhism for Meat Eaters encourages readers to be more mindful about their choices, rather than berating themselves for them, and offers ways for people to live ethically, honestly and guilt-free, whether as a carnivore, vegetarian or vegan. This highly practical guide also includes workbook-style activities and topics for consideration to guide you in your own journey to making wiser decisions on how you consume, how you live, and how to change the world around you.”

Authors for Townsville, Giant Book Raffle

I know, it wasn’t that long ago we were raising funds (nearly $20,000 in the raffle alone) for our Australian farmers with a giant book raffle and manuscript assessment opportunity. Now, Townsville needs our help! From drought to floods… in just a handful of months. Welcome to Australia, hey?

Once again, Australian authors have been fantastically generous in donating books to another giant book raffle!

The book list is still growing at 75 pledged books in 24 hours and still coming in. I’ll be capping the list at 100 books, like last year. But I know some of you will be keen to get in now and get your tickets and commit your support for our friends in Townsville at this time, so if you can get in early and secure your tickets right now.

Once the list is finalised, I will divide them into 3 prize packs.

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.trybooking.com/BATEJ

  • $5 for 1 ticket
  • $20 for 5 tickets

These are just some of the books pledged so far, a fantastic array of books across genres, some favourites from last year and a whole bunch of new ones too. It’s an exciting pack! Let’s raise some money! 😀

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 7.19.38 am

Organ Donation in Australia

The plot of my forthcoming book, The Gift of Life, hinges on a heart transplant, which occurred two years prior to the opening chapter.

screen shot 2019-01-31 at 10.15.05 am

According to statistics from Donate Life (also known at the government’s Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) in Australia), most people in Australia (69%) are in favour of donating their organs at the time of death, though not all of those take the step of registering their intention officially on the national donation register.

You can find the register here. (I’m just wondering here if part of the difficulty with registering is that there isn’t an easy ‘catch phrase’ website to remember, rather than finding your way through the clunky Medicare Online site. Just a thought.)

Also, if you do not wish to donate your organs, you can register that intention at the same place.

However, even if you register your intention to donate, your family will still be asked to give the final consent for this to happen. This is why it is so important that you talk to your loved ones about your wishes. The statistics show that 90% of families agree to donation if their loved one took the time to register their intent; otherwise, this consent falls to just 59%.

According to Share Life (an organisation focused on increasing organ donation rates), Australia is a world leader in successful transplants, yet ranks 22nd in the world for the rates of organ donation. In some countries, including Spain, Austria and Belgium, organ donation consent is presumed unless you explicitly opt out, which increases their rate of organ donations.

Without doubt, the most important thing I learned while researching The Gift of Life was how important it is to have conversations about organ donation with your family now. Standing in ICU after a traumatic event is really not the time you want to be grappling with potentially difficult decisions. One of the things I looked at in the book was the situation in which the donating family member consented to the donation, but didn’t do it in a way that left her feeling any peace about it, and the fallout for her after that happened. These are big, important decisions and discussions and far better to be able to take the time to have them at your leisure over a cup of tea in the kitchen than when it’s too late.

Special Chance to Win for all Pre-Orders

WIN!!! Loves, I know how much you love my big book giveaways! This time I’ve made it bigger than ever for a special reason. THE GIFT OF LIFE is out on 2 April but I want to thank those of you who go out of your way to pre-order the book should have the chance to win this 8-book pack!

You get ‘the full moon’ (new copies of my previous four novels) PLUS another 4 of my pre-loved books. All you have to do is comment here and send me a copy (email or paste photo here) of your receipt/order for preordering THE GIFT OF LIFE by 5pm 1st Feb. josephinemoon@live.com.au

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! I will be doing more competitions in the lead up to the launch of THE GIFT OF LIFE, so even if you miss out this time around, you’ll automatically be entered in future draws too!

If you’ve already pre-ordered (thank you!), you can still enter exactly the same way.

Here’s a few outlets I know of who have it for pre-order at a discount price:

https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-gif…/prod9780143791997.html

https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/…/the-gif…/p/9780143791997

https://www.amazon.com.au/Gift-Life-Josephine…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

_______________

Please note: As always the four pre-loved books in this stack may come with cracked spines, turned down pages, bent covers…. you know the drill! (And having said that, they’re in pretty good shape.)

 

Researching The Gift of Life: Watching a Heart Transplant to Finding the Silent Story

44816789_351729678931125_4498650910217469952_n

Research is my happy place. I do extensive research for every book I write and it’s where I learn not just technical information but also start to find my character development, settings and plot points too. I get to travel within Australian and overseas for location research, which is a great gift. I interview people, spend hours on the internet, watch loads of YouTube videos and, inevitably, buy a lot of reference books. It is the phase where anything is still possible, ideas are still forming and excitement takes me back again and again for more.

My forthcoming novel, The Gift of Life, is based around organ donation, specifically, heart transplants. I love anatomy (I studied it for two semesters) and Biology was also my strongest subject at school and I then did another semester of it at uni. As a result, I loved brushing up on all my anatomy and physiology and researching the many causes and treatments of heart failure, some of which lead to the need for an organ donation. I even ended up at the cardiologist myself, as I have a long history of arrhythmias and, as I found out in my research, these can lead to heart failure! (Fortunately for me, the type I have appear to be uncomplicated.) My husband, too, also ended up at the cardiologist, then my mum went… It seemed like every time I turned around, ‘hearts’ were the theme of the day.  One thing I learned through all this research was that we are all vulnerable to heart issues, which can come with a long list of complications, which can also lead to a need for a transplant. I really had no idea how common it was.

The amount of personal testimony I came across (both from the point of view of a heart transplant recipient and also from the family of those who had consented to the donation of their loved one’s organs) is significantly higher coming from the USA than it is Australia. This was both tricky–because the USA medical and legal systems are very different to ours–and also an opportunity to hear different experiences and voices from those who’ve gone through the process.

There is a wealth of videos on YouTube and I even came across one that showed a heart transplant operation. That one was a little tough to stomach, to be honest!

I interviewed two Australian heart transplant recipients, which was a fabulous opportunity to hear their stories firsthand. They were both very different people–he a middle-aged man with a wife, children and career–and she a young woman in her twenties with a long life ahead if only she could get the chance. Their experience of the process was vastly different too. The organ transplant process is a gamble at every stage: the illness, the waiting period, the operation, the recovery, the chances of rejection and ongoing complications.

In the end, I had way more information than I could use in the book, which is normal. The Gift of Life starts two years after Gabby McPhee had her heart transplant; therefore much of what I learned about the difficult, emotional waiting stage (and the ongoing physical rehabilitation and care through that period) had to be cut and left out; however, it’s all there in my mind, forming the basis to the background of Gabby’s psyche.

I also became really interested in the more silent half of the story–the experiences of the family members who make the decision to donate. These stories are harder to find, and understandably so, as their experience is rooted in trauma, shock and grief. But as a writer, that ‘silent space’ is the most interesting to me. The possibility of a new, untold story is the one I want to follow. The wealth of information I found on the other side (the recipient’s stories) served to highlight a gap in the narrative that, when voiced through the character of Krystal Arthur, fleshed out the full circle of life.

I loved researching this book. It was utterly fascinating from beginning to end.

 

Josephine Moon’s Top Non-fiction Reads of 2018

I often think I don’t read enough, but when I look back over my list of books I’ve dived into over the past 12 months, I see that not only do I read more than I think, but that I read quite a few non-fiction books each year too.

Here is my Top 5 non-fiction titles I devoured this year (in no particular order).

 

  1. Sophie’s Patch, by Sophie Thomson. This I’m more than just a gardening book, it is an inspiring, life-affirming guide to love, passion and health. Total joy.
  2. Any Ordinary Day, by Leigh Sales. How do we cope with tragedy? Leigh Sales has the answer, having compiled extensive research into how our brains and bodies respond after the worst day of our lives. It sounds heavy, but it’s written with such a lightness of touch to be both moving and inspiring at the same time.
  3. How to Give up Plastic, by Will McCallum. As a species, humanity is facing one of its biggest environmental disasters: plastic pollution. We can’t afford to turn away. The time to face up to this and remedy the situation is right now, and this book shows you how to do it, room by room in your house.
  4. Buddhism for Break-ups, by Meshel Laurie. Relationship breakdowns happen across all areas of life–love, friendships, families and workplaces. But breaking up ‘well’ takes commitment and effort and that’s what Meshel Laurie sets out to show us in this book. If you’re not going through a break-up (I wasn’t), it’s still great reading to be prepared when the next one comes your way, as it inevitably will.
  5. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to read this book. Eckhart Tolle is one of the most influential thought-leaders on the planet and for good reason. His wisdom is profound and resonates long after you’ve closed the book.

 

I hope you find some inspiration in this list for your next great non-fiction read.

Jo