Tuesday, 14 July 2009

"A Simpler Life" Now Out!

A Simpler Life, the audio book Annabel Shaw and I have written for Creative Content Digital, is now up on the flippy bar of the audiobooks section of itunes. If you have an itunes, please go and listen to the sample – and if you like it, give it a good rating and/or review!

A Simpler Life is also available on Audible Downloads - a snip at £7.99 for our Tips and Tools for maintaining a simpler life.

“For the past few years, many of us have been on the ‘go, go, go, get, get, get’ treadmill – and ‘having it all’ has often simply meant ‘doing it all.’
But now outside events have forced some of us to pause and ask: Is more better? Is busy is best? Is it all worth it – or is there a simpler, more satisfying way to live?

What happened to the dreams and ambitions that once inspired us, filling us with excitement and happiness? At work and at home we’ve been so carried away with doing, having and achieving more, that we’ve left ourselves no time to stop and check on where we’re heading and why we’re going there. We’ve lost touch with what it is that gives our lives meaning, nurtures our unique talents and brings us true fulfilment.

Maybe it’s time to reconnect and to become reacquainted with our authentic selves.
Through a series of integrated, enjoyable exercises, work/life balance experts Lucy McCarraher and Annabel Shaw provide a map for the listener to embark on a journey to re-discovering genuine values, needs, desires and hopes, providing positive and well-defined goals, clearly marked destinations, a planned itinerary and regular signposts to keep the listener on track.

Topics covered include:
Why ’simple’ is ‘the new black’
Establishing personal values
Living with integrity
Reconnecting with abandoned dreams and aspirations
The six areas in which you can live a simpler life
Writing your own fairy tale
Bringing your life into balance
Making your dreams a reality
Quick and easy ideas to implement your simpler life – today!”

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Out Of Control?

The My Wonderful Life blog is having its first online Clinic on Friday. It's on The Stress of Feeling Out of Control. If you've ever felt stressed in this way, check in on Friday - or leave a Comment before Friday to ask a question, outline your problems or experiences, or offer some tips.

Guest post will be from Michael Lee, from Turn Stress Into Bliss, and Annabel Shaw (social psychologist and co-creator of My Wonderful Life) and I will also be posting and around to answer questions and give advice.

Thanks to Brigitte Morton and all the lovely people who filled (almost over-filled) Reepham Library last week when I came to talk about Kindred Spirits. Several people had already read library copies and were very complimentary about it; some even bought their own copy to hang onto, or to give to friends and relatives. That was my last talk about KS for the moment - I've been to about 10 libraries, a couple of WI meetings and had a book launch - and it's been an absolute delight to meet so many interesting people and get their feedback. Thanks to everyone who's helped organise the talks!

Friday, 19 June 2009

A New Low For Radio Norfolk...

... was what one listener rang in to say about the discussion of masturbation on Graham and Karen's BBC Radio Norfolk's morning show yesterday. But - surprisingly perhaps - this was the only negative response to what must be quite a provocative subject matter for morning radio.

Martin Price from SinSin - his Norwich "love shop" - and I were on as guests to discuss Graham and Karen's choice of subject matter. Martin's credentials are obvious; mine perhaps less so. I'm a self help writer, but more specifically I was part of the team who, back in the late 80s (or was it early 90s?) produced the pioneering Lovers' Guide videos, books etc. And my novel, Mr Mikey's Ladies, does draw on this experience and includes at least one scene of self-stimulation.

Amazingly, we managed to avoid all smut and inuendo and, over the hour, had a pleasingly grown up and reasonable discussion about an activity that 99% of men and 93% of women say they practice. And, as we suggested, practice makes perfect. Martin made the point that if you don't know how your own body works and responds, how can you help another person to please you?

We emphasised that masturbation was normal, natural and even good for you; it keeps the sexual circuitry in order, releases tension, gets endorphins flowing and helps your sleep.

We also said that parents should be sensitive to their adolescent children's developing needs and that boys, perhaps especially, needed respect and privacy. We suggested that parents should be open and available, and always answer questions factually and honestly.

If anyone has any questions about "Lifestyle" issues of any kind, from work-life balance (which I'll be talking about on Radio Norfolk on Thursday 16th July) to... virtually anything, you can post a question in the form of a comment on the My Wonderful Life Advice blog - which either I or Annabel Shaw, my self help writing partner and social psychologist, will reply to.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

More Kindred Spirits at Wymondham Library

We have a splendid new library at Wymondham - my local library. Modern, airy, light and spacious, it sits very happily amongst the more ancient and traditional aspects of the town, and I was delighted to be talking about Kindred Spirits there last week.

There was a terrific turnout - including other writers, musicians and members of the local creative community. It was good to be able to incorporate excerpts from the book about past and present day Wymondham, such as my main character Mo's first impression of the historic market town (not unlike my own), and the Land Girl, Dottie's description of the "Invasion of Wymondham", a real wartime event where the Home Guard, Police, Fire and other services had to act out their plans for protecting the town, with the invading German Army played by local troops.

Librarian, Rachel Harriss, had brilliantly organised the evening, forgetting nothing from refreshments to evaluation surveys - which she offered to let me look at before I left. Not wanting to spoil the buzz of the evening, the interesting questions I'd been asked and the conversations I'd had while signing and selling books, I tried to refuse. But she insisted I look through them and then emailed me the uniformly positive comments from the audience so I could put them up here.

So, thank you very much, Wymondham library audience, for saying such positive things as: ‘Very enjoyable hearing the writer’s point of view. It really brought the book to life as well’; ‘Very enjoyable. Just the right length and structure’; ‘ Interesting talk by an excellent speaker explaining the process of writing and the very well read parts of her books’; ‘Lucy is a very good talker'; ‘I enjoyed hearing a writer’s perspective and how the ideas came about. Readings made the book more alive’; ‘Fascinating’; ‘Very interesting hearing briefly how the author’s life lead towards writing and hearing about Kindred Spirits’; 'Very interesting to hear how an author goes about planning her books’.

So glad you enjoyed it! I did too.

It was also a great pleasure to do an interview for Wymondham and Attleborough Talking Newspaper, a voluntary service which I know has immense value to people who find the written word a challenge for whatever reason. My father was blind for the last twelve years of his life and was helped immeasurably by services like this and RNIB Talking Books.

My next talk on Kindred Spirits is at Reepham Library at 2pm on Tuesday 30th June.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Simpler Life

Creative Content, the digital audio publisher founded by Ali Muirden and Lorelei King, is launching their new imprint, “The Lifestyle Lowdown” with A Simpler Life - by me and my self-help writing partner, Annabel Shaw. The title has been fast-tracked, as CC believe it is particularly relevant in the current economic downturn.

Lorelei said “At times like this, it’s crucial to re-connect with what’s really important to you. We’re so happy to be able to publish a title that will help, written by two experts who, between them, have a vast amount of both hands-on and clinical experience in the work/life balance field.”

Ali agrees. “We think there has been a real shift in the way people feel. During the past few years, for many of us ‘having it all’ has really just meant ‘doing it all’. The recession has made some of us rethink our busy lives on the ‘go go go, get get get’ treadmill, and to look at what we really want. We wanted to produce something that would help us to reassess the path we’re on and to show us how we can change direction.”

A pre-publication reviewer said: “I have just been lucky enough to hear A Simpler Life.This is a great title, full of self improving tips – and a simple concept: Great tips on how to achieve our goals and dreams – and good advice on how to break bad habits! At last, a publisher that makes useful & interesting audio.I would recommend this to everyone .You are never too old learn. A Simpler Life has given me a real boost, thank you.”

Lifestyle Lowdown: A Simpler Life is a new way of looking at how you really want to live, the person you really want to be and the way you really want to spend your precious time.
In recent years, both in the workplace and on the home front, we’ve all been so carried away with doing, having and achieving more, that we’ve left ourselves no time to stop and check on where we’re heading and why we’re going there. Now, it seems, outside events have forced us to pause and take stock; made us question whether more is better, whether busy is best; and whether, without losing our ambition or our need to achieve, there’s a more satisfying, simpler way to live.

The fact is, you can make choices between what really matters to you, and those things you’ve come to believe you ought to have, do or be. But to do that, you must know what it is that gives your life meaning, nurtures your unique talents and brings you true fulfillment. Reconnecting with your authentic values, needs, desires and hopes can help you discover what that is
It’s not necessarily easy, but it is – simple.

Through an hour of integrated and enjoyable exercises, some of which will involve nothing more than closing your eyes and recalling times, places and feelings and others requiring paper and pen or a PC, we show you how to launch a refreshing revision of your life. You will revisit your deep-seated personal values, return to childhood dreams and youthful aspirations and learn to set clear, positive goals for achieving your fundamental desires.

It’s really very simple…

A Simpler Life, out next month, will be priced at £7.99 as a download or is available as an on-demand CD at £9.99. More on http://www.creativecontentdigital.com/ .

Friday, 8 May 2009

More Kindred Spirits

Since talking about Kindred Spirits at Long Stratton and Holt Libraries a couple of weeks ago, I've now done a spot at Attleborough Library and done a guest talk at the Women's Guild in my own village, Bunwell. More kindred spirits in both places!

A big audience at Attleborough, partly composed of the very active Book Group based there, who asked if I'd like to join for their next meeting. So I've taken a couple of the books on their list to read - The Cleft by Doris Lessing and Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann. Different to most book groups I've been part of, they have several books on the list for each month and people can read one, some or all. I'm sure it adds to the breadth of discussion and hope I can get through at least one.

Not because I don't read voraciously - I do. But I've also joined a new village reading group for which I'm reading Julia Gregson's East of the Sun this month, and I have a new novel buzzing in my head, for which I need to read both fact and fiction to get the plot out there and clarified.

I've just become a proper library member again - with my two little girls - and we're all finding it genuinely exciting to go in each week and choose up to 15 books each, not to mention Nintendo DS games, and run them through the wonderful automatic checkout machines!

It was lovely talking to the Bunwell Women's Guild about Kindred Spirits. Because my fictional village of Haddeston is not unlike Bunwell, both in the past and the present, they were interested in how I'd portrayed the local area. And many of them were children in the 1940s, when part of the action takes place, and actually remember events I've included in the plot, like the Christmas party at Old Buckenham Airbase, hosted by the American "Fly Boys" (including James Stewart and Walter Matthau) who were posted there for the end of the war years.

I'll be talking at Dereham Library next week - Wednesday 13th May - evening, I have to check the time!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

I love Holt Library!

As I said in a previous post, I gave a talk on Kindred Sprits at Holt Library last Wednesday evening. I just received this wonderful email from the library manager, Meg Starling, who organised it so beautifully:

Dear Lucy
Thank you so much for your visit to Holt Library on Wednesday. I really enjoyed your talk and I know that the writing group in particular found your honesty about being a writer very interesting and I'm sure inspirational.

One of the ladies has written to the local papers letter page summing up the event rather well - I'm sure she wouldn't mind you reading it (copy below).

"Author Lucy McCarraher visited Holt Library on the evening of Wednesday, 22 April and held the audience enthralled as she shared her varied writing career as a journalist, presenter and business consultant, spanning both Australia and Britain. Lucy then went on to describe, events leading up to the publishing of her first novel, Blood and Water, including a visitation from the spirit world, and her research into the background of the spirit character which gave rise to her second novel Kindred Spirits.

"Lucy read passages from Kindred Spirits, a continuation of the story of the Mozart family, first met in Blood and Water, as they move from metropolitan Crystal Palace to rural Norfolk and find their move to an idyllic farmhouse places them in the midst of dark family secrets which date back decades.

"Lucy generously shared the process of her novel writing, how she wove her research into her novels and the route to publishing her books. After a break for refreshments Lucy answered a wide range of questions from the audience. At the close of the evening there was an enthusiastic round of applause and everyone agreed it had been a most enjoyable event."

Thanks once again and I'm looking forward to experiencing Mr Mikey's Ladies this weekend.
Meg Starling
Library Manager