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Archive for October, 2012

My picture book ‘IT DOESN’T MATTER’ is now on sale :)

Those who live in Australia or New Zealand, you can contact me privately (contact page at the top of this blog) for bank info, everyone else who would like to buy the book can do so through Tate Publishing in the US here 

Many of you have seen the cover before here so now I will show you some pages from the picture book. The gorgeous illustrations were done by the talented Katie Brooks at Tate Publishing.

The last page reveals what DOES matter… :)

This book measures about 14 x 21 cm and has 24 pages. In the back is a code to download the audio book free of charge. Christmas is coming up – those who have or know young children, this would be a wonderful gift.

DJ

 

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Good Monday Morning to you all :)

I have a few personal thoughts about courage to share with you. Courage is  something that you can learn. It takes practice, and the more you try, the more courageous you become.

Your courage is yours, and yours alone. You cannot borrow courage, or steal it. Courage comes from a desire deep within you and is a matter of choice. 

Some dreams may never  be realized, despite the effort and persistence you put into them. It takes courage to acknowledge that and move on. If you are in that place now, pat yourself on the back for trying, and start looking for another dream.

Courage is a source of inspiration to others and may even influence their actions and thoughts. Never underestimate the power of your own courageous example. 

Have a great week. You never know who is watching :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Something to look forward to.

Last month my husband and I spent many hours working on our new deck. There used to be a paved patio outside the living/dining room door, and now there is a beautiful timber deck with white posts and cross beams covered with fly wire. Two sliding fly wire doors give easy access to the back and side yard. White pots containing my most-used herbs give the new outdoors room a homely touch.

For the first time ever, I am actually looking forward to summer. I usually spend the cooler months counting down the days towards the expectation of summer misery, which kind of takes the shine off Winter and Autumn.

I used to dread summer and made myself quite miserable about the fact that it was coming. The last few years, I’ve tried really hard not to spoil the cooler months by focusing on what was to come, and I have noticed that I do enjoy the cooler months even more.

This year is different. I actually said out-loud ‘I can’t wait for summer,’ and I was shocked to hear those words come from me. But it’s true… I can’t wait to sit outside on warm summer evenings, and know that I’m not going to be chased inside by a swarm of nasty bugs and mosquitoes. The whole perspective of a summer of misery has shifted. I feel as though there is a sense of proportion in my attitude now. That’s very good!

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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I think it’s time for a writing update:

Operation Foxtrot Five is on sale in the US now, and I believe the book trailer is being shown on US television. I don’t have any sales figures yet, so I have no idea how it is doing.

Operation Delta Bravo has just finished its final edit. I’m pretty sure all the fullstops and speech marks are in place :) It will be on sale before Christmas in the US.

The picture book, It Doesn’t Matter, is either on sale or very close to being on sale. I received a copy of the Spanish edition for my book shelf. So exciting!

Operation Alpha Papa is still in the final editing stage at Tate Publishing.

Operation Tango Two-Two is undergoing its first edits. So there’ll be some work for me to do next month :) Another cover to plan – I love this stage!

My second picture book is ready to be submitted – just haven’t had time to think about that this last month.

Book 6 in the Operation series is still where it was in March this year. That makes me feel sad. I had set my heart on finishing it this year, but it is looking unlikely now.

Book 7 in the Operation series is still just a file of notes. That makes me sad too.

Social media/networking is up and running, and just this week I opened a twitter account. Don’t quite know what to do with it, but I have one. Tweet-tweet :) Who’s out there?

Website: www.djstutley.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authordjstutley

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Blog: https://stutleytales.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DJStutley

Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3297673.DJ_Stutley

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/djstutley/

YouTube link: http://youtu.be/yEgWgHAkCZ4?hd=1&rel=o

Now, here’s my dilemma, and I’m open to suggestions…

My US publisher wanted all this networking in place in order to promote my books. But… by the time I spend 4 – 6 hours a day (7 days a week) on all these sites, I’m not in the right mental space or have the time to write. And if I don’t have time to write, my US publisher won’t have any more of my books to sell. Does anyone have any suggestions?

DJ

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Good Monday Morning to you all :)

Following my Magnificent Monday # 21, I’ve been touched by the well wishes of my blogging family, and their interest in how I’m doing. For those who are new to my blog, you can read my entry about preparing to die here

I’m doing very well. The tumor was a mid to high grade cancer, and my surgeon said he got it all. Bladder tumors are nearly always cancer, and there is a 30% chance that it will grow back and it could come back even more aggressively. But my surgeon, the wonderful young Mr Pemberton, intends to stay on top of things and I am already booked into hospital for February next year so that he can ‘go in for another look’ rather than rely on ultrasound.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve had to trust a growing number of health professionals from foot surgeons to neurosurgeons and many in between! Someone asked me if I felt it was always raining in my life, because I seem to lurch from crisis to crisis.

‘Sometimes,’ I replied. ‘But it just means I have to find a bigger and stronger umbrella each time.’

To start this week off, let me share my favourite Irish blessing…

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Have a good week and thank you, my friends.

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Last week I found a recipe that only had 4 ingredients, and they were all in my pantry. Peanut butter, honey, milk powder and almond flakes. Melt the honey and peanut butter together, add the ground almonds and milk powder and mix with the paddle blade of an electric mixer.

My mixer doesn’t have a paddle blade, so I just used the regular beaters. That didn’t work very well, and the whole bowl of mixture resembled dry bread crumbs that shot out all over me and the counter. So I swapped the beaters for dough hooks. That worked slightly better, but it still wouldn’t clump together. So I dropped the dough hooks into the sink and started kneading the mixture in the bowl. That didn’t seem to work either. I made a couple of small balls in my fist and thought that maybe I could make a whole batch of small balls rather than knead it and roll it out like the recipe said.

Using a small ice-cream scoop, I dropped little balls on a sheet of paper, but the mixture was becoming drier by the minute. By the time I was half way through the mixture, I could see that it was becoming too dry to stay clumped together, so I started using my hands again. That seemed to work for a while as the heat from my hands warmed the mixture. But that soon didn’t work either. I stood there looking at the mixture left in the bowl and the round balls drying on the paper, and decided to cut my losses. I tossed the rest of the mixture out. I couldn’t resist the urge to sample one of the balls. It was a bit chewy, but tasted yummy. I bundled up the other balls and popped them into an airtight container and into the fridge.

Next day I was afraid I would break a tooth trying to bite into one. There wasn’t even a tooth mark on the ball! How was I going to eat this? Maybe I needed to leave it out. Hours later I came back, but it was still hard. Maybe if I hit it with the meat mallet it would break into smaller bits. Afraid of breaking the plate, I placed the cookie directly on the bench… Nope… After the first hit, the dog took off in fright. Three hits later, there was chips of biscuit on the bench, and my little ball sat staring up at me with little dents, but no sign of a break. I hit it again (very hard) and it broke in half. I tentatively bit down on one half, to the amusement of my growing band of spectators. (Funny that… the dog and cat were hiding, and everyone else in the house had come to see what I was doing.) It still didn’t leave a tooth mark. I picked up the mallet again and smashed each half into crumbs. By now my bench and floor are covered in little bits of cookie.

Peering into the container of peanut butter balls, my brother-in-law helpfully suggested that they could be used in a sling shot – I won’t tell you the other suggestions! I wondered about reheating the cookie in the microwave. Would that soften it? 10 seconds… still hard as a rock. 20 seconds… still hard.  30 seconds… now we are getting somewhere! My sister-in-law hit on the perfect time – 33 seconds left them pliable and a little gooy on the inside.

Sometimes things don’t work out how you think they will – that’s life. Go with the flow… Roll with the punches… Look for solutions… Melt the cookies.

I don’t think I’ll try this recipe again. Or will I…?

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Ahhhh, words are fascinating. No doubt about it. Over the years I’ve collected useless bits of information on words, and here’s one to share with you all :)

Stewardess – the longest word typed with the left hand. And Lollipop is the longest word typed with your right hand.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

‘Dreamt’ is the only English word that ends in the letters ‘Mt’.
(Are you doubting this?)

The sentence:
‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ uses every letter of the alphabet.
(I remember typing a full-page of this in Typing Class at school)

The words ‘racecar,’kayak’,  ‘madam’ and ‘level’  are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).

There are only four words in the English language which end in ‘dous’: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

(Am I right or can you prove me wrong?)

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: ‘abstemious’ and ‘facetious.’ (Yes, admit it, you are going to say, a e I o U)

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

There you go, something interesting that you can forget :)

DJ

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Good Monday Morning to you all :)

A while ago, my good friend Beth (who follows my blog – Hi, Beth…) sent the following story to me. Talk about funny…! If you haven’t seen it before, enjoy :)

The ‘Middle Wife’ by  an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I’ve been teaching  now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth  story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years  back. When I was a  kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my  students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is  pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish  they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.

Well, one day  this little girl, Ashley, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn  and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her  sweater. She holds up a  snapshot of an infant. ‘This is Luke, my baby brother, and I’m going to tell  you about his birthday.’

‘First, Mom and  Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom’s  stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella  cord.’

She’s standing  there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing  I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

‘Then, about  two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts going, ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!’ Ashley puts a hand  behind her back and groans. ‘She walked around the house for, like an hour,  ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

‘My Dad called  the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car  like the Domino’s man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.’ (Then  Ashley lies down with her back against the wall.) ‘And then, pop!  My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and  it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!’ (This kid has  her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too  much!)

‘Then the  middle wife starts saying ‘push, push,’ and ‘breathe, breathe. They  started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out  comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was  from Mom’s play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he  got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there in the first  place.’

Then Ashley stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I’m  sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it’s Show-and-tell day,  I bring my camcorder, just in case another ‘Middle Wife’ comes along.

Live every day as if  it is your LAST chance to make someone happy!

“Laugh  uncontrollably, it clears the mind.”

Thanks, Beth. DJ

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Another lesson learned with the help of Dr Lee.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I’d made a mistake. I’d been so careful to keep certain things hidden because I was afraid he would encourage me to work on them. Blood flooded up to my head and then rushed away like a tide being filmed in fast forward x 20! The fear of what I’d possibly opened up for investigation actually made me feel faint. I hurried on, hoping he hadn’t been listening, but he had!

‘Wait a minute,’ he said. ‘Where do you go shopping?’

‘Either Armadale or Carousel,’ I said. Not offering any other information.

‘How far is that?’

I felt sick. He was onto me. I couldn’t look at him. ‘Twenty minutes south, and twenty minutes north.’

He started rummaging through the file and then asked. ‘And where were you attacked?’

‘Maddington.’

There was a hesitation before he asked, ‘And how far is that?’

‘Eight minutes.’

‘When was the last time you went shopping there?’ he asked.

‘I’ve tried,’ I said, careful not to answer his question. ‘I do my food shopping on line, and if I need anything else, I just go for a drive.’

‘Doris, you are confirming your fear. By not going to the Maddington shops, you are confirming that there is something to be afraid of there. I want you to start going back there to do your shopping, and I think it would be a good idea to stop doing food orders over the internet – at least for the time being.’

I was devastated. I understood what he meant by ‘you are confirming your fear’, but did he have any idea how hard it would be to do what he was asking? I felt like crying.

On a sheet of paper, he enthusiastically drew up several columns and labeled them. Handing it to me, he explained that he wanted me to drive to Maddington every day. Write down my distress level out of 10, get out of the car and walk around in the stores for 10 minutes. Then come back out to the car and write down my distress levels. I had to do this for an hour every day.

As he held the door open for me to leave, he said, ‘You look so miserable. Usually when I tell a woman to go shopping they are overjoyed.’

I didn’t even smile.

Two weeks later, I arrived with a huge smile, so proud of two big fat zero’s on my sheet of paper. We talked about where I parked, how long it took to walk into the shops, etc, then he said: ‘Now guess what I’m going to ask you to do?’

I thought for a moment, then groaned. ‘You want me to park in a different place and go through different entrances, don’t you?’

Now, every once in a while, I can almost hear Dr Lee say, ‘You are confirming your fear.’ It makes me stop and think about what I am doing and why.

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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What are you reading?

I was recently packing for a stay in hospital, when my daughter suggested that I take the book she’d just finished. She said it was pretty funny and she thought I would enjoy it.

Pretty funny…? That was an understatement! Believe me, this is not a book to read in public. I laughed so much I had tears in my eyes.

Before I started this book, I was reading something completely different: A Distant Eden by Lloyd Tackitt. This little e-book sold 10,000 copies in the first 129 days. There are some typo’s but that can be forgiven when the book is on offer for .99c.

I am now looking for something else and welcome suggestions :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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