Books

31 December 2013

New Year

There are just two hours remaining of 2013 (depending, of course, on where in the world you may happen to be), but, however one looks at it, it is not a lot of time to get done all those things that probably should have been done this year. Next year will be different. That said, time is quite insignificant - something that someone at some point devised simply to impose order on things that probably cannot be ordered. New year, with all its promises, could happen, for example, on the 17th March or the 25th November, and there is absolutely nothing stopping the change from old to new occurring at 9.35 am or at 17.38.pm. Every moment is part of every other moment, and what has been is yet to come and that which we believe belongs to something called the future is already part of us. Our only option is to live in the moment.
Happy 2014.

29 December 2013

Altered Perceptions

As you can see, my blog has undergone a fairly drastic change, but, although the name of the blog has changed, the link address has not changed - at least, not at the moment. I will give you plenty of warning when, and if, I decide to change the address. The new blog design will allow for a greater range of topics and will also act as a platform for my second book, which should be published within the next few months.

I trust that you are all having a pleasant holiday season and that 2014 will be a wonderful year for all of you.

16 December 2013

Christmas

Today, I had to organize something over the phone, and the man on the end of that very long, very invisible connection was extremely pleasant, and his 'pleasantness' somehow spread across the entire day. We sometimes forget the effect that a word (or a few words strung together) can actually have on others.


This will probably be my last post before Christmas, and I hope that all of you, wherever you are, have a happy, peaceful Christmas period. For those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, I still hope that the period is both happy and peaceful.    

14 December 2013

Detention on Manus Island

 The following is from an article written by a journalist connected to Amnesty. It tells about Manus Island where asylum seekers, hoping for asylum in Australia, are routinely sent. There is a definite link with the central theme of The Space in Between, but the outcome, unfortunately, is very different.
What we found inside was bleak, and far worse than we anticipated [1]. The entire system is designed to mentally break asylum seekers and force them to return from where they've fled. In one compound we found 112 asylum seekers crammed into a sweltering, windowless shed.
Asylum seekers are routinely humiliated from the moment they arrive. They're referred to by their boat numbers instead of their names. They're denied enough water, medical help, contact with their families. They lack basic necessities like clothing, soap and shelter from the extreme heat. Some told us they have contemplated suicide because of the harsh conditions.
Medical professionals told us that they are unable to treat serious illnesses, and that conditions are contributing to depression, anxiety and trauma. They were frustrated with the lack of mental health services and basic sanitation provided - and the complete lack of response from Australian authorities to their requests.
Most of the people we spoke to had fled war-torn countries, or situations of extreme discrimination in countries like Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. To see people so hopeless and broken was heart-breaking.
I will never forget hearing from an Iraqi man. When talking about his life on Manus Island, he said: "I have lived in war zones, with bombs and explosions. I have never experienced what I am experiencing here with the uncertainty we face. If we had died in the ocean that would have been better."
There are almost 2,000 people being detained on Manus Island and Nauru. The government spends over $1 billion a year to keep them locked up - yet only ONE asylum claim been processed since they opened.
Imagine enduring these conditions each day with no information about when you can begin your life again. Many of the men we spoke to pleaded for Amnesty's help. I won't stop campaigning until they can live in safety and dignity.
Thank you,
Graeme McGregor
Refugee Campaign Coordinator
Amnesty International Australia

12 December 2013

Book Draw




The Book Draw has now been held, and I would like to congratulate the winner,  Margaret Graham. Margaret lives in the UK, and her book will be on its way to her within the next couple of days. Many thanks to all who participated in the Draw, and, hopefully, there will be a new Draw in the early part of 2014. Keep in mind that all names and email addresses submitted for the Draw have now been deleted, and, to be part of the next Draw, you will have to re-register. More about that closer to the date.

In the meantime, if you have not yet read The Space in Between, and you would like to, you may like to check out the list of retailers to the right of this post. 

09 December 2013

E-Book

Having recently heard about a friend who had her e-Book stolen - idea, characters, plot and even the cover - I have shelved the idea of going digital. I can imagine that it must have been one of those 'stomach-dropping' moments when she saw her book with someone else's name as the author, but, as she says, there is not very much that she can do about it. It is sad to realize that such people - devoid of any form of conscience and motivated only by greed - are obviously everywhere...


06 December 2013

Don't Miss Out

It is not long now until someone wins a free copy of The Space in Between, and, if you have put your name on the list, it could very well be you. For those of you who have not yet got around to registering for the Draw, don't leave it until the very last minute. To those of you who have already registered, I wish all of you the very best of luck.

05 December 2013

The ABC


 This post is also off-track, but it is very important. The National Australian Broadcaster - the ABC - must be allowed to retain its uniqueness and its integrity and not be swallowed up by those commercial entities that are already gathering on the sidelines, waiting to swoop. The following is taken in full from GetUp:

The attack is on again.
Today, members of the Government - including Cory Bernardi, Bronwyn Bishop and Ian Macdonald - agitated to defund Australia's favourite public broadcaster.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi called our ABC a "taxpayer-funded behemoth", and suggested that "we could perhaps cut the ABC budget and allow the commercial media operators to compete."

Let's sign and share this petition, and create a huge, instant response to stand up for our ABC: http://www.getup.org.au/ourABC
Here's why we need to oppose this now: they've pulled this move before. This is the Coalition throwing out a test balloon, so they can see how the public responds to their long-held desire to slash the ABC.

Pulled straight from the Christmas wishlist of Rupert Murdoch and right-wing think-tank the IPA, defunding or commercialising the ABC would ruin a rare, educational and uniquely Australian public resource.

We like our ABC free of ads, free for all, free to remain fair and balanced.

Will you make sure Tony Abbott knows to keep it that way?

http://www.getup.org.au/ourABC
the GetUp team.

03 December 2013

Writing Comments

As you probably already know, you are more than welcome to comment on any of my posts. You don't have to agree with what I have written, but, of course, it is always nice when someone does agree. Although some people feel that the idea of adding a comment to any blog is a little daunting, you can always remain anonymous; on the other hand, you can add not only your name but also a link to your own blog or website.