Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Bible In Your Hand

Sometimes Kindle offers some surprisingly inexpensive e-books that have a hearty amount of information and inspiration in them. At 79 pages plus references,  'The Bible in Your Hand'  is one such title. Mfon Effiong Tochukwu has gathered together a great collection of prose and poetry, throughout the ages from well known and relatively lesser known authors.

The inspirational, emotive, and cerebral value of the Bible is celebrated in this e-book in the formats of poetry, songs and prose. The great themes of it's inspiration, its unity and its incarnate nature are explored throughout, along with a collection of quotes from famous readers of the Bible, such as Andrew Jackson, Queen Victoria, Napoleon Bonaparte and John Milton to name but a few. At the end of the collation there is an oft seen, but ever-handy collection of scriptures for many life situations.

The Bible in Your Hand is an interesting book, in that there is a lack of solely Christian Poetry books and e-books, and even less devoted solely to the subject matter of the Bible itself, and its price of a mere $1 U.S. makes this e-book even more attractive. Wonderful for those believers who have forgotten the unique value of the bible, for new believers just discovering it themselves and for veteran Bible appreciators, speakers and pastors alike, The Bible In Your Hands is excellent reading.

Another good reason to consider this e-book is that it is associated with a new charity called 'Voices out of Africa' through Dreamstone Publishers, committed to providing funds to African writers to encourage them to publish their manuscript, so every time you buy The Bible In Your Hands, you put some power back in theirs!

Happy Reading.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Writing Tips and Tricks

How do you write a book?

For many of us budding writers the answer sometimes involves sitting in front of an empty screen or an empty notepad with a lot of ideas, and somewhere in the process the inspiration comes to a screeching halt.

Kim Lambert has crafted a great, plainly written book for such a problem. At 74 pages, this book has 40 wide ranging suggestions for the most  practical aspects of getting along and completing your masterpiece. Things like:

* Becoming certain about your audience,
* Being authentic when writing emotional material,
* "Rewinding", reassessing and refocusing,
* Creating a sense of reality for readers,
* Creating natural dialogue,
* Pacing yourself,
* Overcoming writers block. 

If you are new to writing a book, there are so many things to consider. Kim Lambert, with her short chapters create great ''thinking points'  such as the above. She even has some pragmatic suggestions on matters such as e-book production and creating a series set of novels out of the inspiration you already have.

Kim Lambert knows this because she is the head of Dreamstone Publishing, having also written over 5 books in the areas of business and cooking. With over 20 years in print and e-book production, Dreamstone Publishing's stated aim is to help any author with publishing their book, from front cover, to editing, Print on Demand advice and much more.

After reading this book, my only criticism would be that more examples may have been useful, and perhaps slightly longer for those common writer problems like overcoming writer's block. This book as I've mentioned is great for first time writers, but also contains some handy checklist style reminders for those who are already book or e-book authors.

Happy writing!!!!!

Friday, 13 November 2015

'Frozen' Cafe, Kid's Paradise.

Beneath the luminescence of the ornate street lights, usually busy with the social chatter of alfresco diners, nestled in the corner of a busy street lies a rare gem of a restaurant.

The Frozen Cafe, adjacent to the historical pirate ship in riverside is well known for its young wait staff,  unpretentious cafe style food, and relative inexpensiveness (For my frittata I paid only two invisible dollars). Its inviting blue and cream pastel style is offset by its ornate lighting and minimalistic furnishings.

The frittata was a taste sensation, showing exceptional imagination (as with much of the food served at the Frozen Cafe- and the cheese served with the frittata was a true “homage to fromage”.
Frozen Cafe’s critics have peddled the predictable line that the food tastes like plastic, and inasmuch as there will always be critics, these diners have not fully immersed themselves in the sheer creativity it involves to dine there.

If I were to mention a few critiques it would be that the little blue cups were a bit too small, and occasionally the wait staff lacked basic maths skills. Interestingly, children seem unusually welcome in this restaurant, as if it were some kind of Haven, or Paradise for them.

I’ve told all of my friends about the Frozen cafe. It may be some time until I Let It Go.

Ben Mathewson.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Why YOU and EVERYONE should watch LOST.

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally found something worth talking about in my blog.

You need to watch LOST on Netflix.

No, really. I'm serious, and forgive some of the spoilers. Here's why-

The first episode starts with a handsome yet bedraggled looking surgeon laying face up in a field of bamboo, surrounded by green undergrowth. As the story develops, we watch as he emerges from the jungle to the sound of chaos. We feel the horror as we see the broken fuselage of the plane erupting into flames, we see the crying and the panic as the doctor somehow orients himself to his situation, running towards the panicking victims. We resonate with the drama and from the very beginning.
As time goes on, much more of the story is revealed and the viewer is left asking more questions, like What is this place? Where are they? Why is no-one rescuing them? but of course the writers, like the talented storytellers they are, reveal the answers only to make the viewer ask more questions.
Such begins the drama of epic scope- a moving landscape of human emotions- a captivating and mysterious journey into the themes of love, loss, betrayal, kindness and ultimately redemption; where even larger questions about fate, destiny, and the supernatural are asked amidst a backdrop of an island more mysterious than the characters itself, and arguably more of a protagonist than the actors stranded on it.

As someone who watches a lot of media, I am attracted to something well written, but something that appeals to the emotions. I loved the movie Paycheck (Even with Ben Affleck in it), and Cellular and the series Alias because of the wildly disorienting plots that become clear as you watched closely. All of this mystique pulled you in and brought you closer to the characters as they dealt with conflicts and obstacles along the way. All of these are excellent, yet pale in comparison to the fast moving kaleidoscopic panorama that is LOST- or perhaps is it more like a great painting that speaks something different when viewed from a different perspective? One thing is for sure, it is rare that something resembling actual art gets on the telly.

Such an intriguing plot and storyline are one thing, but much of the motivation for sticking with all 6 seasons of LOST lie in sticking with the characters. The quick thinking leader Jack, the affable and self-effacing Hurley, the beautiful but troubled Kate, the dangerous Sayid, the mysteriously spiritual John Locke and one of my favourite characters, Charlie- the charismatic screw up.  These characters and more make for great pathfinders to the sometimes bewildering journey ahead.

In a world of mediocrity it seems strange to proclaim something on TV as art, but this is not hyperbole. Have you ever read something immersive like Great Expectations? Well, it's a lot like that. It is seriously moving, evocative and heart rending television, yet intelligent enough for those who love a moderately paced mystery.

So if you are looking to get high quality entertainment, that makes you think and feel, Get LOST.

You mightn't want to ever get found again.

LOST is available to view on Netflix, or available at various online sources such as Ebay, Amazon.com and at various other physical stores.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The love that dare not speak its name.

I have decided to write a short piece of prose about fathers. I hope you enjoy. 

Surely the most controversial thing is not scandal anymore, but Love.

Tabloids, Newsmedia and the Internet are filled with the latest news of prominent men's indiscretions. Figures like Gary Glitter, Rolf Harris and Roman Polanski fill pages of our newspapers and time on television. Hardly a word can be spoken of the Catholic church without the spectre and the stain in the back of our minds about what secretive men have done under the superficial cloak of religion. It is a poison which permeates the world- a vicious, seductive spirit which feeds on its own insecurity and anger, engulfing all who hear of it.

Paedophilia has bred a deeply seated mistrust in men. In once 'safe' communities, suspicions are raised about the father who 'likes children' and talks to them at birthday parties; or the 'well- meaning' seeming christian who lives down the street, who runs the Sunday school, or even the old fat man, always looking out the window, with a look of loneliness so easily mistaken for leering, or the teacher who goes the extra mile for one of his students- knowing his struggles, yet knowing what is in the back of the mind of his colleagues. The wound is heavy, and it presses deep into us, boring into our bones. It is a constant white noise amongst people of power and is a screamingly silent ache no-one talks about in the lower spheres of society- a problem which no-one seems to have an answer to, with little justice or redemption for perpetrator or victim. This treachery is everywhere, but nowhere- a scandal ever lurking and secretive in nature.

Yet another much provocative scandal lies in wait for it's full revelation to burst into view-

Love. Real Love.
More specifically that love between a man and his child, oft hidden because of the shame that all men seem entangled by.

It is the yearning of every boys and girls heart, and the secret longing of men of all ages. It is the work weary hand on the shoulder of every young son; the glimmer in the eye of a father that can see beyond the horizon, ever-reaching out into the distance for safety and joy, the man who longs for better things than his own hands could provide, the man who chuckles hearteningly at his children's first steps, or comes alongside his child as he draws; It is the man who has time, or the one who prays with little hands enfolded in his own. It is the comforting assurance to every child that they have done good, and that they are good- right down to the last particle. It is the man who remembers the glimmering streams of his own youth without the stains of hurts and grievances, and would give whatever he had to wash the children in the same cleansing water. It is real love. Sacrificial love. Healing love. It is a love so rare, so enshrouded in this shame it dares not speak its name.

Scandalous love.

You see, good fathers don't make the news, because they are plain. They have no seeming market value because it is their hearts that make a difference. In an age where the heart is all but forgotten, those ageless, golden threads that entangle good and gracious fathers to their children remain. Regardless of their battered state, they stand as a thread through the ages, stretching out to all generations. They contain within their fibres, the links and secrets long forgotten- the patience and mysticism of the saints, the loving perseverence of the forebears, and the wisdom of the ancients. It is a love that is uncontainable it its joy, unfaltering in unselfishness, stalwart and unwavering in its courage and as constant as our very best version of who God is.

I believe one day the outrage will pass. I believe the scandals will one day turn to dust, not because they have ceased to be, but rather because we will be enamoured once again with the reality of having healed, whole hearts. Hearts fully animated, reflective and shining with the glorious reality of being loved, and loving in return. This is the substance of heaven itself, from a father who longs to bestow it upon his children. This is the assurance to every child that they have done good, and that they are good​. This is the substance that cameras, print and media have yet to sufficiently capture, and the day every generation since the beginning of time has grasped in frustration for.

Oh, that we might see it.

Have a great day, 
Ben Mathewson.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Branding yourself for Success - Book Review

Branding Yourself for Success
How to attract clients that say YES!
Ramona Lever

Book Review

Branding Yourself for Success is a 2014 book written and self published by Ramona Lever and illustrated by Shakira Lever. This book is available from the link below for a price of $18.95, plus $5 postage and handling.

Electronic copies of this book are available for $3.76 on Amazon.com at the following website:

As a brief bio, this is what Ms Lever states about herself in her website: 

"Ramona Lever is an Author, an Internationally Accredited Behavioural Profiler and an expert in Personal Branding. Her extensive experience in Sales and Marketing coupled with her background in Coaching and Counselling have given her the passion and understanding to empower others to achieve outstanding results.  Ramona is also an established photographer with a successful studio specialising in Branding Headshots". 

The back matter of her book states that by the end of the reading you will discover the secrets to:

* Attract amazing new clients
* Strengthen your professional credibility
* Learn to Network successfully
* Increase your online visibility
* Live authentically, and 
* Build long term success

I was intrigued by Ramona's work because of the state of my own emerging business as a writer. I have owned this current blog for just over a year now and have developed a modicum of experience in the fields of personal networking, blogging, marketing and developing an online profile, but I have been searching for a good product that answers the often asked questions about these fields and ties them together in a cogent whole- there are many websites which provide expertise in various fields, but fail to tie things together for the reader. Ramona's work, thankfully, does just that!

Ramona, as noted above, is a professional Headshot Photographer, with a history as a Behavioural Profiler, and a Personal branding Expert. Her current work as a Headshot Photographer artfully expresses the skills gained in her previous work to successfully showcase the heart and soul of her client's businesses and assists them to find the unique selling point within their own characters; and therein lies the heart of her book- finding the unique personal brand that markets you as a person- asking and providing the answers to the question: Why should I hire you as an individual over the myriad of others in your sphere of work?

At 133 pages, it could be argued that there is not much content, but really, this depends on what the reader wants. As Ramona herself mentions, If you want a "how-to" book, with clearly defined step-by-step increments to success- or if you want jargon-rich figures, facts statistics and formulas, this book is not for you. This book reads more like partly personal experience, part tried-and-true business management protocols, and partly excellent conference-quality notes on personal branding. I have read a few books on business before and usually notice business imagery on the front cover, so I was intrigued by her photo, yet having read the ideas in her book I could see how a well captured picture clearly does paint a thousand words, especially in her line of work!

Ramona indeed does give the keys to discovering the secrets she outlines in the back material of the book and gives insight into a lot of other good philosophical points, like:

* Seeing your profession as an extension of your personality and perceiving 'success' with maturity.
* Defining 'what you do'.
* Attracting the 'right' type of clients.
* Connecting personal values and spirituality to your business. 
* Knowing when and what to delegate.
* The value of visualisation, goal setting and aspiration. 

Ramona "walks what she talks", especially in regards to maintaining a consistent online presence. You can find her online materials here:

In case you didn't catch it, I would definately recommend this warmly written book- especially to emerging business owners, or those bewildered by where to start in the process of marketing themselves; summing it up with a quote Ramona herself uses by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the greatest accomplishment"

Ben Mathewson. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Berghaus Vapor Claw GTX Sneakers Review

Berghaus Vapor Claw GTX Sneakers (Yellow)
$199 (Retail)
- A Review

I have recently bought myself a new pair of Sneakers from a local store called Mountain Designs. A quick run down of the Specifications are as follows, from this website:

Designed for single track trail grip and security underfoot in a light, breathable package ideal for fast challenging multi-sport activities. Part of our Vapour Light range, this shoe has been tested for the harsh and demanding environments of the Dragon's Back race.

Weight (approx.): 612g
Best Buy - Outdoor Enthusiast, March 2013
9/10 - Best in Test -Tradition incorporates technology to great effect Trail running Magazine, October 2013
Gold - Men's Running Shoes - Trail Category - Men's Running 2013 Product Awards.

Before launching into a product review I should mention a few things. I don't normally review shoes, for the simple reason that my website is largely for books and creative pursuits; that being said, I am also a very comfort and quality conscious person. I am conscious of brand, not because of some need to be fashionable, but because comfort and quality are sometimes synonymous with good brands. In addition to this, I have had 34 years of experience at wearing shoes. 

I'm damned good at wearing shoes.

The shoes I used to wear, from Columbia (the brand, not the country), are no longer available for purchase. They are similar to the Grants Pass Shoes as shown below, Shoes that I was so impressed with because they were stylish, very comfortable, with great value for money and they lasted well over 3 years with frequent use. With such high expectations I decided to review the Berghaus Vapor Claws.
So sad to say goodbye :(
From the outset I should mention that although these are promoted on the website as running shoes, I don't run. There are a few circumstances where I might run as follows:

1. I am being chased by someone with a dangerous weapon
2. The shop, which holds my only hope of a chocolate bar is about to close

So its fair to say  these running shoes have not seen any running action yet! They have however, been on rough terrain and mild elevations at our local walking track, and their small shard-shaped grips have made walking in these conditions comfortable and enjoyable. Indeed, one of the functions of the shoe is the limpet- fit system which is designed to enclose over the feet, allowing for maximum comfort by the wearer, in addition to having a goretex upper, which makes the shoe breathable and lightweight. The goretex upper is also designed for protection from light rain and the elements.

Of particular note is how masculine the shoe is. Referencing the above it has been tested by people who run up mountains for a living- because nothing says MAN like "I CAN RUN UP A MOUNTAIN, WHAT CAN YOU DO...PUSSY?!" This testosterone charged shoe also boasts the name Vapor Claw- Say that with the right effect and it sounds like an ultra-manly Supervillain:


Walking in them with and also sometimes without socks- and keeping them on all day, I can say because of their light weight, the "burden" felt by taking them off was much less than other cushioned shoes; In this way, the Berghaus shoe was even more comfortable than my good old Columbias and the design of having laces, secured in place by webbing is a small but incredibly helpful piece of design, combating the often annoying "re-lacing" that goes on as the shoe is used more and more. The price of the shoe itself is moderately expensive ($199 for full retail, $99 for me because of a sale), but it is well worth it for the features and if it holds up to prolonged use.

As a final note- being a natural extrovert, nothing screams confidence and enthusiam like shoes with yellow trimmings, enabling you to feel that special joy when your friends inevitably say how much they like them, you can casually say "Yeah mate...They're for going up mountains".

Its obvious that this review is premature, as I have not yet tested them adequately in wet terrain or running, but I will eventually do a sprinting test on it one day at around about 4:55. (five minutes before the shops close...)

Ben Mathewson.