WHO ARE YOU, JAMES THOMAS?

 

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BOOKS

ESCANTA

(A James Thomas Novel #1)

He should walk away. She doesn’t want him to. But she doesn’t know him, she doesn’t even know his real name…

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SARATANI

(A James Thomas Novel #2)

Secrets are revealed. Lives are forever changed. James Thomas is fighting to protect those he loves, but he could never predict what happens next…

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SARQUIS

(A James Thomas Novel #3)

James dug up the body and brought it home. But, the dead man is not who he thought it was…

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LUCIAN

(A James Thomas Novel #4)

Sarquis’ portraits changed everything. James Thomas has the identity of the man hunting him, but there’s one problem…

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SORIN

(A James Thomas Novel #5)

A code. A cult. A kidnapping. James Thomas is playing a deadly game of chess, but not everyone will survive…

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The James Thomas Series Box Set 

(Novels 1 – 3)

For a limited time only, buy the first three books at 50% OFF!

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The James Thomas Series Box Set 

(Novels 1 – 5)

Buy the five novels in one box set!

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THE FAVOR

(A James Thomas Novella)

New identities. New lives. They thought they were safe in Tokyo, but they were wrong…

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THE RANGER

(A Deacon Thomas Novel #1)

They say time heals all wounds, but that’s a lie…

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THE REDEMPTION

(A Deacon Thomas Novel #2)

He dug his hands into the wet, muddy soil, searching for his murdered girlfriend’s remains, but what he found was something very different…

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The Secrets of Their Souls

(The Soul Series Book #1)

Zahra Foster is good at keeping secrets…

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The Ghosts of Their Pasts

(The Soul Series Book #2)

Blood will be shed. Lives will be destroyed…

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The Blood of Their Sins

(The Soul Series Book #3)

Some secrets aren’t mean to stay buried forever…

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The Soul Series Box Set

(Novels 1 – 3)

For a limited time only, buy the entire series at 50% OFF!

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ALL ACCESS PASS

A behind-the-scenes look at Brooke’s life and her writing careerpass2

Brooke shares exclusive content with her mailing list that you won’t find anywhere else. She sends out a monthly newsletter with updates including a secret Q&A video just for her subscribers. And, prior to every book launch, Brooke gives a limited number of subscribers the opportunity to join her Advance Review Group. This group gets a free copy of Brooke’s latest book, weeks before anyone can get it, in exchange for an honest review.

Get your ALL ACCESS PASS here

BACKGROUND

Brooke Sivendra lives in Adelaide, Australia with her husband and two furry children—Milly, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Lara, a massive Great Dane who is fifty pounds heavier than Brooke and thinks she is a lap dog!

Brooke has a degree in Nuclear Medicine and worked in the field of medical research before launching her first business at the age of twenty-six. This business grew to be Australia’s premier online shopping directory and Brooke recently sold it to focus on her writing.

CONTACT

 

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BLOG

Blogging versus Journaling

I’ve been writing offline this past week as an experiment. As part of this writing challenge, I’ve committed to writing something every day for 365 days. And so far I’ve succeeded (excluding this one failure you can read about here). But this week I wanted to journal privately instead of posting my rambling thoughts publicly. The purpose was to write completely unedited, without concern of criticism and grammar and the other technical aspects of writing.

And the result was: I really enjoyed it, and it was liberating.

So, going forward, I’m going to journal, but post some of these thoughts weekly to share with you. On that note, I’m off to journal now so have a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend!

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Tips and Tricks to Help Me Stay Organized

These are not necessarily tips and tricks to help you deal with overwhelm, but they definitely do make me more efficient.

  • Listen to podcasts/audiobooks while you’re cleaning your house, exercising, or driving. I love podcasts, and probably get through six or seven per week—which shows you how much time I spend cleaning!
  • Lists—I have the following four lists on my iPhone (I use the Notes app that comes with the phone): Groceries, Pharmacy, Stationary, Home. Each time I run out of something, like butter, I add it to the Groceries list. If I notice my shampoo is getting low, I instantly add it to the Pharmacy list. This keeps me organized, and I never have to dash out to the stores because I’ve forgotten something.
  • The Master List—this is another list that I keep on my iPhone (I use the Do! app). This is a mega list—usually of business related tasks, but some for my home too. Basically, I enter everything onto this list that I have finished on my end, but requires a response to, i.e. I recently updated our home insurance, and I’m waiting on the updated copy of our policy to be sent out, so I added this to the list to make sure I don’t forget about it in the event that it doesn’t arrive. It’s not tasks to action as such, but tasks that need a potential follow up or final confirmation.
  • Tidy as you go—I am always picking things up (and it drives my husband crazy) and putting them away. And when you’re on the telephone it’s the perfect time to multitask—put away the dishes, fold laundry, clean out your purse or handbag, et cetera.
  • Eat leftovers—multiple times per week. I only cook about four nights of the week, so we eat leftovers often. It’s frugal, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for your schedule.
  • Schedule all of your appointments and errands for one day (if possible) so that the disruption to your week is as minimal as possible.

I hope this helps. And if you’ve got a great tip that you swear by, please share it on my Facebook page. Bx

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How I Cope with Overwhelm

Where to start?

Everything seems impossible. I feel like I can’t finish anything on my to-do list—in fact it just keeps growing. And I have piles of started, but incomplete, tasks that seem very difficult to finish.

Ugh.

And that’s exactly how I’ve felt all week. Ironically, I posted about time management a few days ago and how I’m usually on top of things. Well, that’s usually true—but this is one of those times when I’m not. Life threw a few curveballs this week (thank you, Universe) and I feel like I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions.

So what now?

Step one: Breathe

Long, deep breaths. When you see that panic attack, or breakdown, on the horizon, take two minutes to sit quietly and breathe. To be honest, the first time someone told me to do this I thought it was ridiculous—I need to get more stuff done, not sit down and breathe for a few minutes!—but, alas, it does work wonders.

Step two: Clean up

This is an unusual step, and it’s one that probably won’t be featured in many productivity books, but I think it’s essential—at least for my personality type.

Clean up. Whether that be your desk, or your home, do a quick fifteen-minute tidy up. Put the dishes away, speedily make your bed, or organize the papers on your desk.

I find that if I’m surrounded by clutter I can’t think straight. Again, I have to emphasize this should be a quick tidy up—because if we’re feeling overwhelmed we’ve definitely got more pressing matters to attend to—but it’s worth taking a few minutes to straighten up your life. 

Step three: Write it down

Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and write down every single task, big or small, so that everything is on paper.

While looking at what is sure to be an exhaustive list, some might assume they would feel more overwhelmed, but I find it’s actually much more overwhelming to have the thoughts running wild in my mind, accompanied by the fear that I’m going to forget to do something or to call someone.

So I create a mega to-do/goal list, and then organize it into days, by priority, as mentioned in my time management blog. But be realistic—you’re not going to get everything done, and that’s okay. Aim to be productive and efficient, but not Wonder Woman because she doesn’t exist, and believe me, I know this because I’ve tried to channel her many times.

Step four: Eat that frog!

I tackle the most important task first. This, unfortunately, is often the most difficult task, and the one you probably don’t want to do. But, push through and do it, and it will relieve a healthy dose of stress and calm your mind. (Brian Tracy wrote a great book about this tactic called, “Eat That Frog!” which I highly recommend.)

Step four: Take small breaks

Give yourself some grace and take a few small breaks throughout the day. As tempting as it is to power through the list without even taking a break to eat, stepping away for a few minutes will clear your mind and actually make you more productive—research proves it.

So eat a proper lunch, get some fresh air, and give yourself a few minutes to re-collect and re-focus.

Step five: This too shall pass

The overwhelm will pass, as all things do. Ride it out, do the best you can, and remember life will settle down again and you’ll be just fine.

 

I hope this helps, and I’m also going to put together a list of tips and tricks that make me more efficient, and therefore prevent me from getting into an overwhelmed state (usually!). I’ll post it tomorrow, Bx

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How to Write a Novel

Interviewer: Where do you get your ideas?

Arthur Miller: I wish I knew; I’d go there more often.

Writers are often classed as either plotters or pantsers. I’m definitely a pantser, meaning that I literally write by the seat of my pants. There is no outline and no plan for what I will write that day. Rather, I sit down in a quiet room with the door closed and see what happens—sometimes it’s magic, and sometimes it’s total crap. But that’s the great thing about writing—you can always edit and re-write. I will admit, though, that I do normally know how the book is going to start, and how it will finish, but other than that, I let the characters lead me.

For anyone interested in writing, my advice is this: follow what works for you. If you like to plot and create chapter outlines, do it. If you’re a fellow pantser, don’t rebel against it.

And then start. Set yourself a goal, say 1,500 words per day, and then begin typing. It doesn’t need to be perfect—it doesn’t even need to be good. Just get some words down on paper and you’ll be amazed at where you end up.

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Why You Need to Believe in Yourself and Your Idea

I believe that in order to be successful you have to believe it can be done.

That’s not to say that I think you can sit on the couch and manifest your dreams. While I do believe in the laws of attraction, I don’t believe the universe is going to give you anything that you’re not prepared to work hard for. That’s been my experience, anyway.

But, if you don’t believe it is possible to achieve your goals in the first place, then you won’t take the necessary steps to achieve them. You won’t work hard enough, you won’t manage your time—in fact you will probably sabotage it by completing low-level tasks all day—and you won’t have the motivation or discipline required.

You have to believe in yourself and your idea, even when if no one else does.

And if you’re feeling down about where you are in life or the challenges you’re facing, just remember:

  • Stephen King’s first novel, ‘Carrie,’ was rejected by 30 publishers
  • ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ was rejected 140 times
  • Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and has no good ideas.”
  • Steven Spielberg was twice rejected by the University of California School of Cinema Arts
  • J.K. Rowling was a single mum living off welfare when she began writing the first ‘Harry Potter’ novel.
  • Steve Jobs was booted from his own company
  • Milton Hershey started three candy companies before Hershey’s

AND …

  • Howard Schultz’s idea for “Starbucks” was turned down by 217 potential investors!

So, whether your goal is to renovate a home or to build a global company, continue to believe in yourself—always.

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