Jennifer Douglas is a literary publicist who believes in the right of equality for all authors. With a vision of a world where positivity is the norm and negativity is long forgotten Jennifer works alongside authors creating a marketing and publicity plan that meets the needs of the individual.

With years of experience in publicity, public relations and the marketing industry, which includes working with Allen and Unwin and Palmer Higgs Publishing, Jennifer has become a well sort after reviewer. To work with Jennifer is to know you are working with someone who will not hold back on being open and honest about your book and its marketing possibilities.

Having undertaken many courses in writing and poetry over the years Jennifer has a vast knowledge in the field of writing and reviewing, being able to provide an efficient, effective and professional service. As a qualified Early Childhood Educator and a home educating mum with over 16 years experience, she has a passion for quality children's books and educational resources.

Having spent 6 years as the founder and managing editor of two magazines, Good Gabble and Rattling Reviews, Jennifer has an eye for marketing and sales, knowing what the consumer is looking for and how to reach them. She works individually with each client meeting their needs and the needs of their product. She has many years experience in critiquing websites, placing herself in the shoes of the consumer who is browsing. Many clients return time and time again knowing they will be receiving an honest, open and non judgmental review or critique. Jennifer prides herself on providing a friendly, non threatening and personal service. Her clients are able to contact her personally throughout the whole review process.

For further information on the services Jennifer offers please visit her website www.jenniferdouglasliterarypublicist.com. This blog is a review base only.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Urban Mystic, Discovering the transcendent through everyday life - Ken Mellor

  From the age of 13 Ken Mellor travelled a spiritual path of awakening. Urban Mystic: Discovering the transcendent through everyday life takes the reader on that journey. His travels take you from Australia to other parts of the world, including to India. This was the birthplace of three Indian Masters with whom he and his wife Elizabeth trained for many years. During this time, he found his spiritual self, which later enabled him to help others to do the same. While also travelling extensively through the United States, England, Switzerland and Germany, Ken experiences aspects of life that most may not contemplate and did so in an era during which spirituality was not as generally accepted as it is today.

  Urban Mystic is a book that needs to be read with an open mind, a mind that is willing to experience journeys it may not normally take, journeys that have one considering one’s own life path and the part spirituality is playing in it. The book recounts how Ken became the man he is today, a man who has helped many find themselves and a place of peace within their lives.

  While not offering instruction or direction, this book is a biography of one man and how he is reborn and becomes at one with himself and his life. It is an intimate journey into Ken's life, into his mind and his soul. After his early religious upbringing, his dissatisfaction with this learning prompted a decision “to go it alone” in the 60's, a “radically different” approach from what many of his peers were doing. In 1978, Ken met his first Eastern Guru when he attended a workshop in Melbourne titled “The Guru”. This was the start of years of meditating, learning and finding spirituality.

  Written in the first person Ken prompts readers to discover themselves and to learn how all of their life experiences are part of themselves. He challenges them to find awakening within their own hopes, dreams, successes and mistakes.

  In Urban Mystic, Ken talks of spiritual awakening as the unfolding of our consciousness going through four births: physical birth, an emotional birth, a cognitive birth and a spiritual birth. As people go through these births, not necessarily in the order given, they learn about their bodies, their feeling self, their cognitive self, and finally, during the fourth birth, they get direct experience of their spiritual self.  Reflecting this sequence, the book is divided into four books (or sections), each representing one of the four births. In Book IV, The Fourth Birth, Ken speaks of his life screaming out “Pay attention, Ken! Or you will die.” At that time he was living through a series of near misses and accidents that soon ended in a “catastrophic” illness; a sequence that contained a message which rang true within my own life, as I am sure it will in the lives of many others. He also asserts that grounding and centering are fundamental to personal wellbeing; while paying attention to the messages that life, and our bodies, are giving us is of uttermost importance for our own wellbeing and health, and in our interactions with others.

  What I liked most about Urban Mystic was the truthfulness of its content. At no time does Ken hold back on speaking of his spiritual experiences, belief's and findings. Some may seem outrageous to others, even bizarre, but they are what has made Ken the man he is today. Ken takes you on his journey with honesty and keeps you, the reader, intrigued, yet relaxed and comfortable feeling as though you are floating along behind him, hovering as a fly on the wall, experiencing, feeling and growing with him.

  At first glance I was impressed with the uplifting cover that invoked thoughts of transcending to a place where all ones worries are lifted. At  a thickness of 470 pages I felt a little overwhelmed but within the first few chapters was eager to continue my journey and find out how this man became a spiritual mentor and master, co-founded a non-profit organization with members and associates in more than 30 countries and published works in journals, magazines and online—not to mention the many parenting books he has co-written with his wife Elizabeth.

  In the prologue Ken writes, “In sharing my story with you, I hope you will find encouragement to keep going when you face challenges, that you will realize how everyday people have the talent to fulfill extraordinary potential, and whatever your current state of personal and spiritual development, that you'll go on to realize completely your inherent nature. I also hope that, just as I've found encouragement, insight, and support from other people's experiences, mine may be useful to you.”

  I certainly enjoyed my journey with Ken and feel that within me Ken achieved his goal of encouragement and spiritual development. By the time I had finished reading Urban Mystic, I was listening intently to the messages it contained and relating them to situations within my everyday life. Was I listening to myself? Did I truly feel comfortable with who I was and the path I was taking? Was I happily in control with my life and future path?

  Ken Mellor is a true inspiration. His book offers a message of enlightenment, hope and spirituality. He life of meditation produces love and fulfillment. He is a man who has not been afraid to stand with what he believes in order to be at one with himself. A man with a life that is lived to its fullest and contains many messages for all to listen to, messages of believing in one’s self, listening to one’s mind and body and embracing life.

  Urban Mystic, Discovering the tanscendent through everyday life, was selected as a finalist in the spirituality category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. This placed the book in the top five of that category. Written with  a sense of humour and optimism that carries the reader through, this award selection is well deserved. Ken writes with flare and reflection and at no time did I feel bogged down, confused or bored. With each page he held my attention with ease. Urban Mystic is a book that is easy to follow and flow's beautifully.

ISBN: 978-0-646-53006-2

Available online: www.awakeningnetwork.net

Review by Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Edward's Watch Mouse Experiment - Joel Hart, Illustrations Melissa Daw

* as published in Good Gabble Newzine December 2010

Edward's Watch Mouse Experiment by Joel Hart provides a story full of extreme science and imaginative fun. Illustrations by Melissa Daw compliment the adventure nicely.

  Edward is a ten year old with a love of chemistry. When his family is faced with several house robberies, by the same men, Edward is determined to find a solution. To begin with he researches what the neighbours use to deter burglars. With high tech alarm systems and camera's not financially viable for his family Edward decides, after visiting old Mrs Murphy, that a watch dog is what they need. He visits the pet shop but to no avail, so he visits the pound where he finds the perfect dog, a five year old golden Labrador. With  mum and dad working hard at their own business they quickly refuse to have a dog.

    With the watchdog idea ruled out Edward is back into the shed and his chemistry, with his trusty mouse Squiggles by his side. As Edward uses his chemistry set to make concoctions, Squiggles, being a mouse, devours the failed concoctions. This is where the fun begins. With the initial idea of giving himself super human strength, so he can tackle the burglars, Edward begins to create a concoction from ingredients around the house. Into the blender they go, little bit by little bit, until BOOM!, mixture everywhere.

  A day later and Squiggles is found to be eating Edward's concoction. With Squiggles looking more buff and with a sharp predator look in his eyes Edward feels he may be on the right track. So begins the fine tuning of the concoction until Edward has Squiggles standing in the backyard two metres tall.

 So what do you do with a mouse this big? What do you do with mouse poo the size of Mount Kosciusko? What do you do when a mouse this size escapes?

  Edward's Watch Mouse Experiment is sure to keep kids turning the pages and laughing along the way. At 102 pages and with full page illustrations in every chapter, this book is suitable for all ages, from the beginning reader to the more advanced. Joel Hart has used his skills as a primary school teacher and knowledge of what children love to produce a book that kids will pass from friend to friend and surely be discussing in the playground

ISBN: 978-0-646-50579-4

Visit Joel Hart at www.joelhart.weebly.com

review: Jennifer Deaves

Melissa Daw - Artist and Illustrator

* as published in Good Gabble Newzine December 2010

  Melissa Daw grew up in Perth Western Australia and from a young age had a love of art, spending a great deal of time drawing, painting and generally making things. With a lot of visits to exhibits and plays, due to her mothers appreciation for art, it was not surprising she made the decision to study art later in life.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Education with a major in Arts Melissa set off to travel Europe for a year, returning to Western Australia were she got a teaching job in the small farming and mining town of Ravensthorpe and later met her husband. Today Melissa is a mother of two children and works one day a week teaching at the local district high school. She is a member of the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council, providing a variety of art experiences for the local community,and attends a local art group who have turned an old CWA building into a studio gallery for local artists.

  Melissa first got into illustrating through her friend Joel Hart, illustrating his first book Joseph and the Magical Moose.

“It was my dream to write and illustrate my own picture books....but Joel did it first,” says Melissa “I still have not gotten around to publishing my own.”

    Melissa is currently involved in the early planning stages of a mural for the local hospital which involves the local school children. She is also working on two commissioned pieces and a picture book. With all this under her belt she admits that it does seem like a lot but all is fine until someone gets sick or 'all the wheels fall of the routine wagon!'

  “I work mostly at night when my children are asleep, although sometimes they are in the studio with me,” Melissa stated when asked how she manages it all. “ My son often makes slot car race tracks around the various easels and tables whilst my daughter also likes to paint.”

   Coming from a fibre textiles background construction is something that Melissa loves to do.

“My kids and I love to build with boxes and we enjoy collecting found objects and natural materials to just 'make stuff',” she says. “Now the kids are getting older they are able to manipulate the materials to create some really interesting things....it gets hung from trees or the patio or is just given a special place to sit.”

So what inspires Melissa?

“I am inspired by life events that happen around me. I find it easier to paint things that I have a connection with somehow, hence it is usually my children.

  I like to tell stories but will often not be explicit about it, I prefer to keep a bit of mystery, just a mix of events or dreams or ideas. Sometimes there is no meaning at all, I just liked that particular combination of images or colours. I just really enjoy the painting process, making the colours and shapes come together. I tend to use acrylics mostly, I love their brightness but also enjoy to play around with watercolours.

  The use of colours and the technique I have developed is all due to my lifestyle. I just can't spend hours at a time working at it so it is just a bit of time here and there. I would waste a lot of paint if I mixed up colours and then had to stop when the kids interrupted me, now I often paint straight out of the pot and mix colours in layers on the canvas so I can stop at any time to put the slot car back on the track or pull apart some tricky lego pieces.

  I also love just drawing, pencil is probably my favourite medium. You can get such a soft shading and fine detail.

The great thing about art is that you can learn all the time. I enjoy going to different workshops and meeting other people, getting new ideas.”

 In terms of her art Melissa is quick to point out that she appreciates many forms.

  “My favourite painter at the moment would have to be Tamara De Lempicka, I love art deco, and she has influenced my themes and style lately. I also have a deep love of fibre textiles and adore the work of Nalda Searles. I am sad that customs such as knitting, sewing, quilting, crotcheting and weaving are no longer generally practiced........guess what my kids have to learn!”

  Although the expression of art has been in Melissa's life for many years she feels she is just really starting out and is learning to be confident about what she does.

“I spent a while there just trying to do what other artists were doing and then I realised I am allowed to break other people's rules and make my own. For me it is just simply good fun and I am happy when I am doing it.”

article: Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oscar's Way - Elizabeth Mellor

Photograph: Samantha Lo http://samlophotography.blogspot.com
Oscar's Way by Elizabeth Mellor is a book of adventure and fun that has the reader turning page after page. Suitable for both the young and old, the imagination is taken on a journey through the Australian bush with characters that touch you with their charisma and soothing style.

   Oscar is a blue tongue lizard who lives beneath the house of the Brown family, but he is no ordinary blue tongue, he loves to spend his days pondering and mulling over the meaning of life and why he was placed in this world. Oscar realizes he is different to other blue tongue lizards and although he has tried hard to be like the others he just hasn't managed it. Knowing this about himself Oscar makes an important decision.He will call himself a creature rather than a blue tongue lizard and refer's to himself as a b-t-l.

   Jambie is a bedraggled, just out of the nest, possum who won't sleep during the day so is left under a tree by her mother to 'work it out'. This is were Jambie is standing, sobbing and unhappy, when Oscar finds her. Feeling Jambie may be a 'creature' just like him Oscar befriends the possum, inviting her to his place for a cuppa. So begins a friendship between two unlikely creatures who set out on an adventure of a lifetime, “to the hill a long way off in the distance past the creek that has a couple of trees on the top.”

   The adventures of Oscar and Jambie are ones of friendship, trust and positive messages. Written with a meditative style Elizabeth takes the characters through many tests and trials as they meet other animals of the bush. There is Samuel a copperhead snake, Gus a white cockatoo, Claude a wedge tailed eagle and Jax a kookaburra, to mention a few. Each have their own personality that not only fits their description but allows them to play important roles in the messages the book holds.

   Full of positivity and enlightenment, Oscar's Way provides important messages about being different, accepting  ones self, and others, and about finding your way in life. With lines like “ I am who I am and I will be who I will be” and  “Your life is valuable, so take care and don't waste it.” messages are clearly  directed at the reader but woven into the character.

  Written simply but with depth Elizabeth Mellor has created a work of art that is sure to become a classic as the years pass. This is a book that will be handed down through generations of families and shared together by young and old.

  I loved this book. I became engrossed in the words, the characters and the plot. I eagerly turned page after page relating to both Oscar and Jambie on different, but personal, levels. As character became part of their lives they also became part of mine. This book has it all – adventure, spirituality, enlightenment, love, hope and unity.

ISBN: 1-920892-91-5
Available online at: www.awakeningnetwork.net

review: Jennifer Deaves

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zoe's Puppy - Joel Hart

Illustrations Melissa Daw

* as published in November 2010 Good Gabble Newzine

photograph: Samantha Lo

  A story of love, family, friendship, growing up and loss, Zoe's Puppy by Joel Hart is sure to touch the hearts of children and adults alike. Colourful illustrations by Melissa Daw compliment a story with messages that are sure to heal.

  “One beautiful Autumn Day” Zoe is born. Each birthday Zoe is given a stylish item that relates to a dog. On her third birthday she is given a real puppy that her mum and dad got from the pound. They name her Pooky. As Zoe grows so does Pooky, each enjoying the journey of love, friendship and family. Shortly after Zoe's eighteenth birthday Pooky becomes ill and dies thus beginning the journey of loss, memories and moving on. Zoe soon marries and has a daughter of her own, Kayla. On Kayla's third birthday she is given a dog. Pooky lives on in the hearts and minds of the family.

  With the main message of Zoe's Puppy being that of  loss I found this book to be of use in many area's. Hidden within is the message of  love and the unity of family. The love of parents and a child and the love of a pet. On each page, as Zoe grows, the words and illustrations compliment each other to show the changes as we age and mature and a time line of events within our lives. Not just do Zoe and Pooky grow but the events within their lives and surrounding change with them showing the adventures and  patterns of the change. A gentle way of dealing with the messages of life, Zoe's puppy helps children deal with changes around them and heal in times of loss.

  Zoe's Puppy is the third book to be written and illustrated by the team of Joel Hart and Melissa Daw, following Joseph and the Magical Moose and Edward's Watch Mouse Experiment. With an Australian author, illustrator, publisher ( Watch Mouse Publishing ) and printer ( Copy Magic), Zoe's Puppy is sure to appeal to a large range of audience.

ISBN: 978-0-9807924-0-9


Review: Jennifer Deaves

An Interview With Joel Hart - Australian Children’s Author
 Completing a teachers degree in at Flinder's University in South Australia, Joel Hart is using his love of literature and education skills to provide quality children's books. Teaming up with illustrator Melissa Daw, Joel's three books, Joseph and the Magical Moose, Edward's Watch Mouse Experiment and Zoe's Puppy, are sure to instill a love of books and reading in children of all ages.

   Along with teaching and wtiting Joel, accompanied by Melissa, is spending time conducting writing workshops for children during the school holidays. During these workshops the children work in groups going through the process of planning drafting, illustrating and publishing their own picture book narrative. The next workshop witll be held in Fremantle WA during January 2011.

  Good Gabble asked Joel the following questions:

  Were did your teaching career first start  and were have you taught?

  I started my teaching career in Adelaide in 1991. Since then I have taught in Perth, Kalgoorlie, Coonana Aboriginal Community, Ravensthorpe and now Fremantle. I  have been teaching in the Fremantle area for 6 years.

What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being a children's author?

  I love watching children engaged in my books and telling me about their favourite parts and characters. That's the ultimate reward.

  As you promote your  newest book Zoe's Puppy has there been any single event that has left a memorable moment in your mind?

  Zoe's Puppy is a little sad but quite uplifting at the end. A friend of mine read the story to her son who had recently lost his grandmother and thought the story had helped them both. It was quite satisfying to hear that because this is the intention of the book.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

  I always thought that one day I would write a book and probably a children's book. Mem Fox was one of my lecturers at Flinders University in the late 80's and looking back, I can see that she was the one who planted the seed. It wasn't until my first son was born in 2002 that the inspiration came. My first book is called Joseph and the Magical Moose. My son's name is Joseph and the moose idea came from a little stuffed moose that sits in a ceramic bowl at our house. That moose has been there for 12 years!

What lead to you becoming a published author?
  A lot of determination and a belief that the material was good enough to be published. It's important to get feedback, particularly from people who aren't your friends because friends will often say what you want to hear, or at least a watered down version of what they really think. A good editor will give you the honest feedback that you may not want but need. Sue Moran from Dramatically Correct is my editor and she is fantastic!

What do you hope your books achieve?

I just want my books to be read and enjoyed by as many children as possible. There are a lot of laughs in the first two and I hope Zoe's Puppy can assist children that have experienced loss and help them move on.

What words of wisdom would you give to another who hopes to one day become a published children's author?

Don't be disheartened with knock backs from publishers. It doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have good material. Publishers have quotas, text lengths and genres they're looking for and there is a good chance that your story just doesn't fit the criteria. Get feedback from your target audience and make sure you are writing for a target audience. Ask yourself, 'Who's going to read this?' You might be interested in albino yaks from southern Mongolia but the audience might be thin. If you're writing children's books, make them fun, dynamic and with no boring bits. You have to keep children turning the page. Create plenty of visuals in the text, even if you are using illustrations. Roald Dahl did this well. Also, treat children like intelligent human beings. They are capable of understanding a lot more than adults often give them credit for.

Is there an author you admire and who keeps you motivated?

Well there's a lot more than one, but Roald Dahl is definitely my favourite. I also love Paul Jennings, Mem Fox, Graeme Base and Rob Scotton.

If you had to give a message of positivity to someone else what would it be?

Believe in yourself and take any advice as an opportunity to improve.

For further information on the workshops and to get the latest news on Joel visit him at: www.joelhart.weebly.com

article: Jennifer Deaves

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Power Of The Cat - Anne Walker

* As published in October Good Gabble Newzine

I have had many cats in my life but it was not until reading The Power Of The Cat by Anne Walker that I really thought about how blessed I have been and how much I have taken their role in my life for granted. If only I had listened to them and appreciated their messages as Anne has.

The Power Of The Cat is a heartwarming and emotional journey into Anne's life and the lives of her many moggie friends. From a young child Anne was blessed with the presence of cats. As the years passed she learned to listen and learn and tune into the inner soul of her companions. Through this she has been touched in many ways, giving her the ability to write of her experiences and encourage others to embrace and respect an animal that is often criticised, forgotten and easily discarded.

Having a child with Autism I have seen the special bond that a cat can hold and the love, acceptance and understanding that it can convey. Until today I had never really understood this bonding that only a selected few of our cats have had with my son. Over the years I have brushed it off as 'one of those things that happens in life'.The therapy that these few cats have offered him over, with their unspoken understanding of his meltdowns and their soothing touch when no one else is allowed to touch, was misunderstood until I read The Power Of The Cat. Anne has helped me accept and understand what I knew I was seeing but thought impossible. I now understand why some cats have chosen to shrug my son off but others have just arrived and provided the much needed therapy. We currently do not have a cat in our life, to the disgust of my son, who tells me daily that he needs a feline friend. Through The Power Of The Cat Anne Walker has given me a deeper understanding of the true meaning of a cat in my sons life and the special healing powers that they hold.

The power of the cat is a tribute to all cats that roam our land. It speaks of them for them. It reaches deep into their soul giving humans an insight into their thoughts, feelings and the love they have to offer. It shows how we as humans are blessed to be given the opportunity to share our lives with them. Cats come into our lives and cross our paths for many different reasons, some often unknown, but touch our lives even if only for a second.

From her first cat Mrs Muggins, who walked into her life one sultry summer Sunday when she was young, to Lily the last cat spoken of Anne is able to spin a web of intrigue and amazement at the abilities and understandings of the cat. Cleverly written The Power Of The Cat is able to weave history and knowledge of the cat and cat breeds into stories of Anne's life. From the day they arrive into her life until well after their death all of Anne's cats have left an impression and meaning to their being. Through Anne's stories it seems there is no coincidence in the arrival of a cat in ones home, well definitely not Anne's home.

I highly recommend this book, even for the non cat lover. It is touching, moving and enlightening. More a book of the life of Anne Walker and her feline friends than a book of cats, it is sure to leave a pleasurable impression in the mind of any reader. Anne writes with truth, colour and detail that touches your heart and leaves you feeling as though you have been blessed by being given the opportunity to be part of the life of a furry friend.

Coloured photos leave you wanting to stroke and cuddle the feline friends and take one home. Loving and loyal, devine and devilish The Power Of The Cat has left me with a deep understanding and respect for the loving moggie. Anne has taught me to respect and listen to all creatures great and small and to open my heart to the understanding and respect they deserve as a species that shares this vast land with us.

ISBN: 978-1-92-068151-7

available online at www.palmerhiggsbooks.com

The Tighty Whitey Spider and More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up - Kenn Nesbitt

* As published in October Good Gabble Newzine

Full of zany animal poems that really don't make sense The Tighty Whitey Spider by Kenn Nesbitt will have kids rolling on the floor in hysterics. From the young to the not so young Kenn weaves a web of magic with his vast sense of humour and use of rhyme.

My three year old sat engrossed as she demanded I read the full 97 pages of poems in one sitting. The black and white comical pictures add charm and character to the value to Kenn's poetry. We laughed, talked and we joined in with Kenn's silliness as each poem became more and more absurd.

It is with this absurdity and silliness that The Tighty Whitey Spider appeals to children. The imagination of a child has no limits but has a deep passion for the different and impossible, Kenn has been able to zone in on this and produce poetry that tantalizes and tickles.

The Tighty Whitey Spider is sure to instill a love for poetry and words in children and have, even those who find reading a challenge, wanting more. When the competition is on between The Tighty Whitey Spider and technology this book will never be forgotten . The kids will soon be logging onto the net and combining their need for an internet fix with the wonder of the book as they download free online audio. They will soon be dancing in the lounge room as they listen to Kenn sing ( and read) some of his wildest poems. These downloads stand alone or act as an audio to accompany the book.

So if you want to read about Chickens on the internet, a triangular Kitten, a dancing Baboon, a Hippo sandwich, Beavers in the bathroom, Camel fights, skydiving Elephants or know what not to ask a Centipede then this is the book for you.


Reviewed by Jennifer Deaves

Check out more of Kenn's quirky poetry at: www.poetry4kids.com

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Eventful Life, Life Stories Of Eventing Champions - Alison Duthie

Beautifully presented An Eventful Life, Life Stories of Eventing Champions by Alison Duthie is a written and pictorial journey into the lives of six Australian eventing riders. It shows the courage and determination it has taken to get to the Olympic medalist level they have achieved. Megan Jones, Sonja Johnson, Shane Rose, Wendy Shaeffer, Stuart Tinney plus up and coming rider Emma Scott are all featured within this book.

Alison Duthie takes the reader into both the private and professional lives of each rider with eye opening grace and compelling intrigue. She shows both the seriousness and fun of the horse business mixed in with all the heartache and pain it takes to get to Olympic medalist level. She shows a group of unique athletes who not only have dedication but a love for what they do – it is in their blood.

These true stories provide background information into what it takes to become a medalist and the hard work and hours of commitment required to maintain that level First and foremost this book shows the understanding and love that this special breed of people have for their horses. With a deep respect and dedication to their four legged friends these unique athletes often go beyond the call of duty to make sure their horses are comfortable and able to compete at this top level. With the love also comes the heartache and pain as horses are injured and lost . And of course there is the commitment by family and friends, the mateship and support between riders and competitors that makes this industry what it is today Above all these are ordinary people with ordinary lives who have worked hard and followed a dream that has lead them to become Olympic Champions.

Having evented to two star level herself, Alison Duthie has done a wonderful job of introducing the world of eventing to those who may not have otherwise bothered. Not being one with a love of horses and having no eventing knowledge I was never at a loss for the understanding of terms or jargon and learnt more than I bargained for in a book that I read mainly for its human interest and Australian content. A background on eventing is provided explaining what it all means for those who find it necessary but I felt that by the time I had got to the back of the book were this is found Alison had already lead me through the eventing process. What I did find helpful was the rider biographies at the end of the book, these allowing me to piece together the history of the riders as mentioned and fill timelines within my head. Tables of Australia's World Equestrian Games Records for Eventing are also included.

This book is a breath of fresh air amongst the normal learn to ride and how to care for your horse books. A welcome diversion for the horse lover who time and time again has searched in vain for something to read on a topic that is overdone in its usual form.

For those who are not horse lovers I recommend you give this book a go. It is more than just a horse book. It is a book of lives, careers, compassion and a group of extraordinary people who, as individuals and a team, go beyond their love of horses to represent their country in an event that deserves recognition for the stamina and sweat that is put into it by both horse and man. As an Australian I am proud of what these people stand for and commend them for their dedication and love of their sport. Until I read An Eventful Life I had no idea what being an equestrian rider really meant.

An Eventful Life , Life Stories of Eventing Champions is a soft back book of 304 pages. Inspiring and uplifting it touches the heart in many places and takes you on an emotional journey. With a cover that catches the eye and words that touch the soul it is Australian, it is history and it is what real champions are made of.

ISBN: 978-098078671-2

Available online at www.palmerhiggsbooks.com.au

review by Jennifer Deaves

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Your Life Manual, Practical Steps to Genuine Happiness - David Ambrose

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine September 2010

 In Your Life Manual, Practical Steps to Genuine Happiness David Ambrose provides a straight forward, easy to read guide to the happiness we deserve in our lives. Full of practical advice and a philosophy that caters for all regardless of  religious beliefs Your Life Manual is motivating and uplifting. Full of personal experiences and scenario's it is easy to relate to everyday life situations.

 David writes: “Life is not meant to be easy. We are meant to confront tests and grow, then confront more and grow further. We can choose some of our challenges and grow faster, or wait idly for life to throw them at us whether we like them or not.”

  He acknowledges that when it comes to self development there is no such thing as one-size-fits all, we all have our own personality and needs. David encourages your right to disagree with anything he has written, encouraging you to analyze your reason for disagreeing. He sees thinking about things as an enriching process, understanding the reasons for your opinions as valuable.

  Divided into four parts (The Philosphy, The Principles, The Transformation and some thoughts and ideas) Your Life Manual walks you through the basics of life and the solid foundations required to reach happiness and take control of your mind. David shows how our outlook and happiness in our lives not only affects our immediate belonging and interactions with our world but that of all around us. He speaks of the “butterfly effect”, how “a butterfly fluttering its wings over a flower in China can set in motion a series of events which will result in a hurricane over the Carribean.”

  For some this book may at first seem challenging and confronting but it will soon provide food for thought and have them questioning their acceptance of the way society functions and how they intend to sit within.

  I started this book with an open mind wondering how it was going to fit into my life. I consider myself to be at peace with  where I am at this current moment and happy with the road my life is taking. I am confident in my choices and happiness abounds me, so how could Your Life Manual create me more genuine happiness than I already had?

  I need not have wondered as I found this book suitable for all regardless of what stage in their life they are at. Your Life Manual is rich, pure stimulation for the mind. It is thought provoking and provides a place for one to assess, reassess and connect with their current life and circumstances, good, bad or indifferent.

  As I worked through the sections I was left questioning my views and the process I have taken to get to where I am today. I delved deeper into the road I am travelling and the road I wish to take. I was left assessing the way I cope with the walls that are placed in front of me. Section three, The Transformation, helped me find my 'self time'. As I worked through the 'sittings' I explored my mind and soul on a level much deeper than I normally would. I was able to explore my being, both negative and positive, in a non threatening way, becoming at one with my future happiness.

  Your life Manual is more than just a book, it is a way of life. Once read you will be empowered to continue along your new found road of happiness, affecting all who you meet. People will relate to the new you in a more positive manner and pay it forward, creating a chain of events that will only be of  benefit to all.

  'The Philosphy' of Your Life Manual speaks of the topics of love, peace, freedom, harmony and happiness. In chapter 10 David speaks of our absolute rights; The right to love, The right to peace, The right to freedom, The right to harmony, The right to happiness. He speaks of the rights to 'all creatures' rather than that of  'all people'. Your Life Manual is about steps that you, the reader, can take to increase all the above experiences in your life while at the same time generating the flow around the world.

  Through Your Life Manual David reinforced my love of life and the importance of balance and happiness within my world. This book is the starting point to a new you. A you that has the skills to continue to find happiness and fulfillment in all you do.

  Winner of the Readers Views 2007 Reviewers Choice Award I highly recommended Your Life Manual, Practice Steps to Genuine Happiness. It will empower you to do everything at the best of your ability finding the happiness within. It will empower you to listen to the messages your feelings convey allowing you to create much more happiness. You will tune into what your feelings are saying making problems easier to process. You will be able to make informed decisions leading to further happiness and empowerment of the mind.

For further information or to purchase your copy visit

review: Jennifer Deaves

Bushfire - Elizabeth Mellor

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine June 2010

Bushfire by Elizabeth Mellor, a reflection of loss, a celebration of life and a book that heals. Having first hand experience of the terror of a bushfire in 2002, Elizabeth writes with truth and detail that takes the reader within the life of Ruby, her family and their hardship and joys.

It all starts on a hot sultry day as Ruby sits under the peppercorn tree with her dog Gypsy. Ruby lives on a property out of town with her mother and her father. Life is soon to change as a bushfire rages across their property. With howling winds, fireballs landing in trees and heat that is described as 'sitting in the middle of a furnace', there is no time for this family to stop as they defend their property and protect themselves against the forces of nature. Ruby hates wearing all the clothing that her parents insist will protect her from the fire but she does not complain. With her lungs filled with smoke and her eyes stinging she unites as a team, with her parents,searching the house for amber's and distinguishing them before fire takes hold. There is little time for the family to stop and no time for sleep as the fire rages through the property.

From the heat and fear of the fire the journey continues as reality sets in and the family are left to clean up the mess left behind and sort out their lives. For days they are alone on their property, with little supplies, left wondering if they where the only lucky ones and hoping that their friends and neighbours are alright. Ruby and her parents, along with Gypsy, soon find themselves amongst others within the community in a camp set up at the local cricket ground. It is here the reader meets the many different characters of the town and is taken on a journey of the affects that the devastation of fire can have on different people. With the use of descriptive detail and emotional statements Elizabeth takes the reader on a journey of heartache and loss, fear and pain but also of joy and elation, mateship and unity. She shows the true meaning of friendship and of community as all work together to help each other get through a time of hardship.

During her time at the cricket ground Ruby meets up with many of her school friends but worries of the whereabouts of her best friend and next door neighbour, Joe. It is not until she goes back to school that she learns, within the playground, of the loss of her friend. This loss is not only felt by Ruby but also by her parents who, over the years, had formed a close friendship with Joe's family. Together Ruby and her family cope with the loss, joining together to remember their friends, the good times they had and returning to the remains of the house where they perished.

The ending of Bushfire is one that leaves the reader feeling an immense loss but also the joy of the celebration of survival and the rebirth of nature. Six months after the devastation Ruby and her parents organise a barbecue for the community at their property. Here they hold a memorial for those friends and family that passed, grieving together, supporting each other. Each takes turns to read the name of a deceased and light a candle in their memory. Tears flow but everyone understands, 'the relief of grieving together was huge'. Finally there were the celebrations. Celebrations of a new life, new friends, new beginnings.

Elizabeth Mellor has done a wonderful job with Bushfire. She has used her life experience combined with her experiences as a qualified social worker and counselor to weave magic into a topic that is often difficult to approach and explain to children. In the early chapters of the book Elizabeth cleverly describes the actions to be taken in the event of a fire and precautions to take to prevent disaster if a fire should hit. In Chapter 2 the reader is introduced to the wearing of fire safe clothing as Ruby and her family dress in their fire gear which includes woolen socks, jeans and long sleeved heavy cotton shirts, they place on their cotton hat and grab their face masks. It is in this chapter that Ruby is given the task of making sure all the windows and curtains are closed and wet towels are placed against all of the outside doors. In Chapter 3, Fire Storm,the reader is introduced to the onslaught of the raging fire. It is here that Jack, Ruby's father, addresses the family describing tasks that must be done to protect themselves and the house. He talks of checking to see that blankets and towels are in the bath, of grabbing buckets and filling them with water and patrolling the house for sparks. Bushfire takes children through the steps of a fire plan, prevention and defense, in a non threatening manner. It is a book that should be read in all classrooms promoting a program of awareness and opening discussions with adults on how to cope in a fire, before it happens and it is too late. Although Ruby and her family experience a bushfire, this book could be used to approach the topic of any sort of fire within any community.

Elizabeth Mellor has written and provides ,as downloads,a parent guide and teachers guide. Both are available free of charge at www.bushfirebook.com.au. Both guides are set out in chapter by chapter format making them easy to follow and use. The teachers guide includes questions and worksheets to be used in conjunction with the book, a valuable resource in any classroom or for the homeschooling family. Also available on the same site is bushfire information containing helpful websites and organisation to contact. The book and guides provide a very useful, informative resource that is well thought out and compliment each other with success
Review: Jennifer Deaves

ISBN: 978-0-646-52891-5

Published: 2010

Bushfire is an inspiring book about a girl named Ruby and her beloved dog Gypsy, who get caught in life threatening fires. Through the book you follow Rudy on her emotional journey. You are with Ruby through the lose of her best friend, the adventure of making new friends and the building of a new life. I felt the heartache that Ruby felt when she found out her best friend had perished in the fires and I felt the warmth of the community spirit as they pulled together.
I found this book enlightening, warming and heartfelt. Once I had finished reading I felt refreshed and close to Ruby. The book has made me more fire aware and I now feel ready if the time ever arises that I'm stuck in a fire. I found the book to lag in some places, but it was easy to pick up again as I was dying to find out what happened in the end.
Elizabeth Mellor has done a wonderful job at writing a touching book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inspiring read of the journey of life after tragedy.
review: Samantha Lo

Stream Of Consciousness

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine June 2010

The Hip Hop scene in Australia is about to get a shake up with the arrival of Streamlyne ( Joshua Lynagh ), a 21 year old emcee from Mt Gambier S.A.

  With tracks previously being played on radio in Mt Gambier, Adelaide, Melbourne and England, Joshua has recently seen national attention on Triple J’s unearthed, where his songs Lost and Hip Hop 101 both reached No 2.

  Influenced by Australian artists such as The Herd, 360, Pegz, Drapht, Seth Sentry and The Hill Top Hoods, the music of Streamlyne is not only thoughtful but intriguing and captivating.

  “If I can change (their) views on something, or affect them emotionally, that satisfies me. When people tell me that my music has changed their lives, or that they were in tears hearing my music - I love that”

  When asked what influenced his writing Joshua was quick to point out that there are many things.

“ Sometimes I wanna get a message across to people, and music is how I do that. Sometimes there are things I gotta say, or wanna get off my chest, or appreciation I want to show to people”

  Recording from his home, with no soundproof walls, using a Samson USB Condenser Microphone, Streamlyne (Joshua) is  seeking a recording label with the plans of releasing his first album, ‘Stream of Consciousness’, late 2010.

article by Jennifer Deaves

2012 State Of Mind Feat. Demo (Lyrics)

I got twenty twelve state of mind, every hand pay it rignt
Every day take the time, to say the things to make it right
Stop wasting time each day and night there’s such a long way to climb
Spend every hour like the very last day is nigh

Time’s running out so what do you do now
Pegz gave you options but its up to you how
To live it out, have you got some ideas written down?
Or try and find another way, search for a different route
If it’s your last.....day on earth
Would you do something crazy to make it worth it?
Or spend your last 24 sittin whe your turf is
Laugh with your loved ones make the night perfect
Let old emotions and flames resurface
Or go with the flow hit the wave and just surf it
Ride it out and realise your life is now worthless
Or sit around and wonder what was your purpose
Make up for lost time, apologise and make it right?
Solve all the problems that kept you awake at night
Fix everything that you never could mend
Or just sit and just watch, as everything ends...

Every day’s a gift so make the most but make it fit
Sometimes you gotta take the risk, live on the edge be dangerous
What a way to live, every step every breathe
Every second you’re alive while they simply exist
Get on your feet and pump your fist, move the masses
Take them from their lives where they’re ruled by plastic
Eradicate the hate and maybe prove to the youth
That the truth can be told if they move their asses
Or arses, don’t live in the shallows of the past and
Move on from the tragedy of shadows that they’ve cast
Make every second count, battle to defeat your pride
So the ones you leave behind are never left with doubt
Never left without knowing just how you feel about ‘em
Always let them know you couldn’t live here without ‘em
So when the reaper comes you know made a change
And your light will remain, to never fade away

To listen to 2012 and other tracks by Streamlyne visit:


Join Streamlyne on Facebook at:


Enrich Your Lifestyle, Memoirs Of A Homestay Host - Clay Tenni

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine May 2010


 I recently met Clay Henry Tenni in the oddest of situations in a caravan park in South Australia. We both have black Labradore x Kelpie’s which greeted each other openly, leading to a few weeks of human conversation on pets, family, children, writing and life.

  I had no idea that this bubbly friendly gentleman was a bilingual university graduate and published author until he handed me a copy of his book Enrich Your Lifestyle - Memoirs Of A Homestay Host. Upon handing me the book he gave me no indication of its content, just asking that I read it and give my honest opinion.

  That night I read as promised, engrossed from front to back, completing the book in the small hours of the next morning.

    Having never travelled overseas, knowing nothing about homestays or having ever considered running one I read this book with a light interest wondering where it would fit into my life. Had Clay not given me a copy I would certainly have never picked it up, missing the opportunity to be inspired, motivated and uplifted.

  Clay writes with honesty and interest of his experiences as a homestay host. After studying abroad himself under the care of homestay families he set out to turn his own home into an inviting experience for students of other cultures. Within his book he talks not only of his own personal experiences but points out the pitfalls and benefits of a homestay business. You are soon left thinking differently about the spare bedroom in your house.

  Enrich Your Lifestyle, Memoirs Of A Homestay Host is not only a book for those involved, or considering being involved in, the homestay industry but is a book that contains chapters of life experiences that are thought provoking, enlightening and more than often humourous. Within this book I found a feeling of inner calm and acceptance of my life situations both past and present.

   Clay Tenni uses situations and lessons from  his own life to relate messages of positivity and guidance to the reader.He writes of  “expecting the unexpected sometimes because stuff just happens in life.” He provides insight into how “your thoughts have impact on your feelings, which affect your wellbeing and outlook on life in general” He advises to “Think happy and be happy, Think sad and be sad.” He advises that “Prosperity isn’t always measured in monetary terms. It’s really a lifestyle thing!”

  Chapters 14,15 and 16 provide the homestay host with dollar saving tips around the home that not only save the budget but the environment as well. Tips that we all should be considering in our day to day living.

  I closed this book with the finishing chapter leaving me feeling at harmony with myself and with a sense of positive kharma and enlightenment. I didn’t feel as though I had read a book about a homestay business but a book of one man’s life experience’s and his need to not only return the positive experiences he had as a homestay guest to others, but also to spread the positivity of his life to  society as a whole. His messages are clearly those that should be shouted from a mountain top.

Enrich Your Lifesyle, Memoirs Of A Homestay Host is refreshing, welcoming and friendly yet interesting, educational and thought provoking. A journey worth taking that will leave you floating on a cloud of positive thoughts.

RRP: $29.95

Publisher: Seaview Press South Australia

Available from: www.seaviewpress.com.au

Article Jennifer Deaves

Circus Olympia - More Than A Show...........A Community

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine July 2010

  To live in a circus community is to live in a community of trust, friendship and loyalty. With a blend of cultures from all around the globe there is a sense of tolerance, sharing and understanding. There is little time for  fights or judgement. To observe the work of a circus community is to watch a group of individuals who unite together, enjoying the company of each other and life.

  I was recently given a glimpse of the circus life with a behind the scene's tour and a chance to watch a show that will stay in my memory for a long time to come. 

  It was evident that this small community of 29 people are unified with their love to perform and their love of this country. With acrobatics and feats that not only entertain but send a thrill up your spine, there is no time for harsh feelings or bitterness. The Circus Olympia community is built on togetherness and lots of fun.

“There is no boss/employee within this community, it is one big family,” Kyra, my tour host, informed me. “If you have a disagreement you just get over it. There is no time to hold a grudge as the show must go on.”

  Respect and friendship was surely noticed in Kyra's interactions with Chavella, who works in office administration, as they joked light heartedly together. As I observed the community in action I saw a group of people who, although busy, had time to stop, smile and chat amongst themselves. Even though I was an outsider I was instantly made at ease and felt very welcome.

  Having only been touring for 2 years, Circus Olympia is still young. They are small in comparison to other circus's with the youngest performer being 5 years old. Each member or family travel with their own caravan which is either provided by the circus or self owned.

“When you join a van can be provided but if you want to do anything to it, like hang things up, you are best to purchase your own. A bit like renting and buying” says Kyra.

  Circus Olympia are fully self contained with their own bathrooms and washing facilities. All motor homes and vans are a home away from home with the community travelling for 11 months of the year. Many return to family during the one month break over December.

    Of the 29 members in the community there are only 10 who perform with others involved in behind the scenes work, administration, sales and various other roles. All members pitch in together, being versatile in their job, ready to lend a hand when called upon. “When times get tough there is always someone to talk to and someone to help you out” says Kyra

  When the show is over and it is time to move it is all hands on deck as the tent is dismantled, the animals packed up and the caravans hitched and moved. It takes a team of 10 -12 men  6 hours to dismantle the tent but 11/2 days to erect. Moving involves a lot of organisation, with a tight schedule. Circus Olympia keep the distance between show destinations to a minimum so as to not have the animals caged and transported for long periods of time. The animals are the first that the team relocate. A safe open area is immediately set up for them where they are given fresh water and food. It is obvious that they are very much a part of the community and a great companion to all.

  Next time you attend the circus or see them on the road I urge you to stop and think of the lifestyle they lead and what it must take for a community to work so tightly together 7 days a week for 11 months of the year. Circus life – A special life full of special people!

See photo’s and read a review of the show at  http://gabblingaroundaustralia.blogspot.com

article Jennifer Deaves

Oozing Arts - Sherryl Clarke

* As published in Good Gabble Newzine July 2010
Sherryl Clark

 Australian Author and Poet

  If you have children you may of heard of Sherryl Clark, a successful Australian author and poet. If you read a lot of poetry you are sure to have come across some of Sherry's work over time.

  Born in New Zealand in 1956, Sherryl first came to Australia in 1978. In 1981 she moved to Melbourne and attended a creative writing class at the Footscray Women's Learning Centre. This lead to a study of an Arts Degree at Deakin University.

  Sherryl then moved into the area of community writing. She became an active member of Victorian Community Writers and taught writing workshops, whilst also becoming the writing and publishing officer at Footscray Community Arts Centre for 6 years. Her first writing class soon developed into an ongoing women's writing group, Western Women's Writers, who still today continue to produce the only women's poetry magazine, Poetrix.

  In 1996 Sherryl began writing for children. Her first book 'The Too-Tight Tutu' was published by Penguin in 1997 as one of the first Aussie Bites. She has since had titles published within the Aussie Nibbles and Aussie Chomps series. Her book series 'The little Pirate' and 'Tracey Binns' both have their own websites.

 Sherryl has had over 40 children's and YA books published in Australia and several in the US and UK.

  Poetry can also be added to Sherryl's list of achievements, having written a vast amount over the years. She has two collections published by Pariach Press – 'Edge' and 'Thicker Than Water'. This has lead to her expanding into writing poetry for children, with her first poetry collection 'Farm Kids' being published by Penguin in 2004. Farm Kids went on to win the 2005 NSW Premier Award for Children's Writing. Since Farm Kids Sherryl has written two more verse novels – 'Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!)', honour book in the 2008 CBA Awards and 'Motormouth', published March this year.

  Today Sherryl's time is spent between teaching, speaking at conferences, visiting schools and participating in events such as the MS Readathon and children's book events. Sherryl does hope to eventually write full time but can't imagine giving up teaching altogether.

 To find out more about Sherryl, her books, Poetrix Magazine or to link to 'The Littlest Pirate' and 'Tracey Binns' websites visit: www.sherrylclark.com

article Jennifer Deaves