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