Hanging out in Hyde Park

On my last trip to London, I visited Hyde Park for the first time and meet some local Squirrels. Even with my iphone I managed to capture some cool pics. I look forward to coming back with an SLR camera one day.

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Up close and personal to Hyde Park Squirrels

Up close and personal to Hyde Park Squirrels

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Sanssouci – Europe’s Hidden Gem

Germany continually surprises me with its amazing beauty. When I traveled through Europe at the end of 2011, I made a list of places that I had always wanted to visit. Among the list there was the Eiffel Tower in Paris, London’s Big Ben, and the Berlin Wall. I have since discovered that Germany has much more to offer than just a brick wall. Here’s some photos of Sansoucci in Potsdam. It has acres of gardens, tall trees and stylish palaces.

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My writing process – Blog Tour

Firstly a big thanks to Lynne Stringer who has invited me to be part of this blog tour. You can view her website here

On January 1st, 2014, while many people were once again setting weight loss goals, I decided I would write a book. On the 9th of February I completed that goal, and I am now busy editing my 73000 word adventure thriller. The name of the novel is Flashlight, and it includes lots of interesting travel locations and unexpected twists. Flashlight is my first novel, so it has been a really interesting learning curve for me.

My novel is different to others of its genre for several reasons.

1. Characters
My story includes characters that are often depicted in a negative light by mainstream media and the general public. One of the characters who help my hero, is a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman living in an Islamic country.

2. Emotion
In a fast paced thriller, the hero usually loses no sleep when a friend dies. The next day they reload their gun and continue the journey. I wanted to make some pages wet with tears and allow time for my characters to grieve before moving the story forward. In the first few chapters of my story there is a time gap for this purpose, later chapters include some references to grief.

3. Spirituality
In my own life journey, my relationship with God intensified during my darkest moments. I wanted my leading character to also experience a similar spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is never complete in real life, and my character will continue to develop in the sequel.

4. Non-violence
In a thriller of my type, the pages are often filled with violence. My leading character is a lawyer’s assistant, not the kind to shoot a gun or resort to a public fist fight. Only one page of my story includes a gun battle, and the reaction of my hero is, well… you’ll need to read the story and find out.

5. No swearing
This was an interesting learning curve for me. I actually never use swear words in real life, but I wanted my ‘bad guys’ to appear normal. Initially I compiled a list of ‘low impact’ swear words that my ‘bad guys’ could use when they were angry or frustrated. Some examples were: bugger, damn, hell, and crap. After reading an online debate, I changed my mind and decided that I would only use body language to communicate feelings. My decision was partly influenced by the fact that I want my novel to fully reflect my own values.

6. Inspiration
I wanted my book to be able to encourage people who were facing difficulties in their lives. My novel is not designed to be a counselling manual, but my experience and qualifications as a life coach and a counsellor, were always going to leave footprints in my story.

Reasons why I write what I do?

  • I have always loved a good mystery story. As a teenager, my favourite book was Sherlock Holmes.
  • I love to inspire people with a message of hope. My stories will always have a happy ending.
  • I love to travel, and I love to write. Is it any surprise that my book is filled with interesting locations?

How does my writing process work?

  1. I woke up one morning with an idea for a story, so I sat down and started writing. Three chapters into the story I realised I was writing a book (I joke not). On January 1st 2014, I made a conscious decision to complete my story.
  2. I googled how to write a book in a month and went on a media diet. My television had recently stopped working (that helped) and I limited my time on the internet to 10 minutes every second day.
  3. I set a daily routine. Every morning I was up early to push out at least 500 words, then stopped for breakfast, and continued till the ‘juice stopped’.
  4. I set a daily word count goal. My goal was 2000, but I didn’t punish myself if I fell short. My best day was 3543 words and that was after teaching teenagers all afternoon.
  5. I limited the editing and focused on the story, making notes about my characters, locations, timelines, as I went. Even after keeping notes, my characters names changed between chapter one and chapter three. (Is this normal? or was I just overtired that day)
  6. I underlined anything in my story that I needed to research online at a later time. An example is the name of streets in New York City.
  7. Every time I reached a dead end, I would write a list of questions, and then lay down to rest. (to engage my creative mind) If I had ideas for the next chapter, I just went with that. I decided I would return to fill in any gaps during the editing process.
  8. I also posed questions to my Facebook friends, because I love involving others in the process of anything I do. An example: Facebook friends gave me suggestions for a mysterious restaurant location in Paris.

The process of writing this novel has been completely life changing for me, and I am confident that the next phase of my life will include many more novels.

Visit two of my most inspiring friends blogs:
Carole Pallier - Cazzazsnaps
Carole is an incredibly talented photographer who has also written an inspiring biography about her life in Australia. The transformation in her life leaves anyone to believe in an all powerful God.

Tania Harris - God Conversations
In her DVD series aired on Fox TV, Tania teaches how we can hear from God. She also regularly visits churches around the world to share this message, and has also recently completed her biography.

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Meeting the Royal Family

Ok, I lied about the royals, but I did get to walk on the hallowed ground that they had touched. This week I visited London for the second time. My first visit to London was on New Year Eve 2011, and I will never forget the amazing atmosphere standing in front of Big Ben on the stroke of midnight. The sound of celebration is a memory I would love to repeat.

My trip this week was no less spectacular. Standing in London Tower, the voices of school children filled the air with laughter. Standing in Trafalgar Square, the crowds cheered as street performers displayed their talents, and standing in line to board my flight back to Berlin, I vowed to return again.

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DO YOU GO NAKED ON THE FLOOR TOO?

They say Germany is a nation of engineers and poets. Sometimes their way with words catches me off guard. Yesterday, my future mother-in-law told me “I admire the way you go naked on the floor”. I guess I have some explaining to do. What she was meaning is that I walk bare foot around the house. Even in winter I have never been a fan of slippers. I can’t explain why, I just don’t like them. Germans on the other hand, make “house shoes” a religious activity. What about you? Am I the only one that goes naked on the floor?

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Does Travelling Inspire you to be Creative?

Okay, so I’ve been away from my blog for a few months, and i do have a great excuse….. I promise. In the next month I will share some amazing experiences in Berlin, St. Petersburg, London, Frankfurt, and Stockholm, but today I want to write about something a little different.

I have discovered that travelling can often have the most unexpected results. I’ve just finished writing my first 70000 word novel. An adventure/ mystery based around a woman who loses her husband, is forced to flee her country, and searches for the truth behind a list codenamed Flashlight. The book is jam packed with interesting locations that I have visited in the last three years, and a few places such as Istanbul, which I would still love to visit.

How has travelling influenced your creativity?

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Autumn is the season of colour

Maple LeavesIMG_6987IMG_6912Autumn leaves

Well, I’m back in Germany after an amazing visit with family and friends in Australia. …and of course, the highlight of being back in Europe during October is the wonderful colours of Autumn. I grew up Queensland, Australia, so we don’t have any of the winter trees like Europe. I hope you enjoy these few photos.

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