Beautiful diversity

One thing I love about the spring is the flowers. Just walking along my street there is a plethora (don’t you love that word?) of different blossoms. The pig face is in full bloom this year and the delicate white flowers look like they are made from rice paper. There is a bush that gives huge flower heads – as long as my arm – and each covered with tiny purple flowers. Daisies flower in profusion opening with the dawn and closing at sunset. Some trees are covered with small compact blossom, some with large, flowing, pendulous blooms. Reds, oranges, blues, purples, whites, pinks, it’s glorious.

I know nothing about gardening, and I don’t know the names of the plants, but I love walking past all the flowers on my street, enjoying the different scents, and the different sights. It lifts my spirits.

Imagine if every flower was the same? I know what flowers are for – they attract insects so that the plants can be pollinated. Each of the flowers I see attracts insects. They don’t need to be as varied as they are. I’m sure that something with more uniformity would get the job done. But there they are, a motley haphazard collection of diverse and assorted flowers. 

I love them.

Look, you know all this. You’ve heard this sermon before. Isn’t it wonderful that we are all different? You are special just as you are.

Last week on the podcast we heard from Christina who has seven daughters. In a couple of weeks we will hear from Catherine who, by choice, has no children.

I love working at home in my own office with no one around, but Moz loves going in to school, surrounding himself with teenagers, having many conversations through the day.

My sister Catherine does an awesome job of being positive and joyous on social media, brightening people’s days with her posts. My friend Annette doesn’t even have a mobile phone. She is never online at all.

And so it goes.

It is so easy to feel guilty because you are not like someone else. Especially when you see them doing such a great job of whatever they do. I don’t know how we convince ourselves that we are valuable and have something to contribute whatever the thing is that we choose to do, but today I’m giving it a try.

Today I want to encourage you. You do you.

Be the beautiful flower that you are.

Brighten the world, or challenge the world, or comfort the world, in your own way.

Let’s be a garden full of beautiful flowers.

Much excitement!

Deadly Misconduct - Preview

I’m really excited. Truly. I don’t think I’ve been this excited before. Well, maybe, but only once or twice.

The thing I’m really excited about (and you may have noticed this if you’re my Facebook friend) is that I’m about to launch my first novel. It’s called Deadly Misconduct, it’s a cozy mystery, it’s available on Amazon for pre-order and on iBooks too, and it will be up on Kobo by the end of the week. There will be a print-on-demand paperback version too. It launches on the first of May.

Yes, I’m very excited.

Friends ask me, ‘Did you always want to write books?’ and the answer is, I don’t know. I really don’t.

I have always loved reading books, but writing? When I thought it through, I realised that I believed that writing a book was everyone’s dream. Isn’t it? Doesn’t everybody want to write a book?

I’ve asked people about this and while a few have said yes, (and then we’ve gone on to have fabulous conversations about writing practices and books we love and so on,) other people have looked at me like I’m mad and said that no, they don’t want to write a book.

There was a time, way back when, that I was looking for a hobby. I tried a whole lot of things – painting, drawing, cooking, long-stitch, cross-stitch, sewing, knitting, crochet, all sorts of things, but nothing really filled the bill. Nothing gave me the satisfaction I wanted.

But when I write, that fills the bill perfectly. It gives me energy, it stops the words from going around and around in my head, it satisfies me and at the same time gives me hunger for more. It’s something I enjoy, something I can do, something that also allows me to do all the reading that I love doing as well. Reading is research, writing is creating; I am happy.

Since I’ve started writing this blog and writing my novel, I have more life in my life.

So who knows if it has always been my dream? But finding out what you love to do, what you’re meant to do is, in my experience, amazing.

I think that others get the same experience from art and crafts, from running, gymnastics, dance, from singing, and playing musical instruments. There are so many creative endeavours, so many things that give life. I think people can also find their special thing in doing maths or science, in solving problems, in programming, or accountancy. Just because it doesn’t look creative to more artistic types doesn’t mean anything.  In fact, if you can make a living from your special thing, all the better, in my opinion.

If you haven’t found the special thing that you love to do I encourage you to keep searching. I didn’t make it to this writing thing until my children had grown up and could look after themselves. I’m really not sure if I could have done it before then.

What I’m really trying to say here is:

You do you.

Don’t try to be anyone else. Keep curious, keep experimenting, keep looking for what you can give to the world. Enjoy the process and find your special thing. It’s worth it!

And of course, I’d love to have you buy my novel if you enjoy a cosy mystery. But no pressure 🙂

Deadly Misconduct by R.J. Amos

Research to die for?

Alicia is determined to return to academia after time off to care for her sick mother.  An unlikely conference in sleepy Hobart town throws her into the path of Professor Conneally, who offers her a dream job in Cambridge.

It seems the universe is on her side – until the professor drops dead at the conference dinner. Alicia’s convinced it’s no accident, but no one will believe her. Can she find the culprit before the conference is over? Or will she lose all her friends, and the opportunity of a lifetime?

Pull on your slippers, get cosy in your favourite chair, and spend an hour or two solving the mystery in beautiful Tasmania.