Keith McDonald

Vegetarian Vampires- The Book!

My life was very different eight years ago, long before the Big Breast Adventure. I was working 10 to 12 hour days in-house with a huge, complex and demanding client who shall remain nameless (OK, it was Qantas). My mother-in-law had just passed away very suddenly sending shock waves through the family, my daughter was progressing through those challenging pubescent high school years and my son was struggling with an as yet unidentified learning difficulty. To say life was busy and stressed would be the understatement of the millennium.

Because I never had time to read anything other than newspapers and business magazines during the average working week, it wasn’t until we took a much-needed family holiday to Hawaii that I actually picked up and tried to read Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. In my haste to get through some non-work related reading material in my time off (oh, the pressure!) I skipped the introduction and started straight into the first law – Pure Potentiality. This chapter only runs for a few pages (as they all do) but it took me hours to read it, just trying to get a handle on what the man was on about.

Fast forward a few years by which time the work-life balance thing had become a complete joke.  By this time I’d abandoned the 12 hour days in favour of short-term in-house gigs for individual clients and had even had therapy for a while. Nevertheless, the stressed-and-running-around-list kept mounting with a dyslexia diagnosis for my son; the sharp deterioration of my Brisbane-based father’s health precipitating a move to a nursing home, and my widowed father-in-law in his 90s living alone in Canberra.

Somewhere in amongst all of this, the little book I had taken to Hawaii to read (only getting through the first chapter) literally leapt out and fell at my feet during an attempt to restore some order to the bookshelf beside my bed. Seeing this as a sign, I started to read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success once again, not skipping the introduction this time.  This turned out to be the smartest move of all because the introduction frames the purpose of the book beautifully, just as the Afterword provided a neat summation when I finally reached it – I’ve been a fan of reading both ever since.

I also started carrying Chopra’s neat little handbag-sized book around with me reading each day’s law on the day it was meant to be read. I quickly found the daily texts that had me baffled on first reading were now providing tools to either face the day ahead, if I read it in the morning, or to make sense of what had gone down during the day if I happened to read the passage at bed time.

I guess I can credit this little book with kick-starting my blogging career, such as it is. In trying to make sense of the many guru-like recommendations in it’s pages, I started writing down my thoughts and the connections I was making between Chopra’s commentary and the tribulations of my daily life. By doing this I was merely trying to make sense of the Seven Laws myself and perhaps help some other people along the way. What these blogs became, however, is a sort of non-guru/normal person’s guide to applying these spiritual notions to real life  I’m delighted to tell you that they’re now available as my first book – Vegetarian Vampires and What We Can Learn From Them – the self-help book for people who don’t read, or even like, self-help books.

And I’ve learned two really big things on the path to getting my first book published – and I don’t mind sharing with you good people. Firstly, I wrote every blog post in the book except for the last, Saturday’s Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life – before I knew I had breast cancer.  I was editing the manuscript for publication last year when I was going through protracted chemo and radiation treatment. One could be forgiven for thinking this might have changed my perspective somewhat but it didn’t – and for that I am deeply thrilled and very grateful. I feel like I am walking proof that all this ‘woo-woo’ talk really does stack up when the chips are down. And as my writing coach and editor, Dave Burton, so eloquently put it in Vegetarian Vampire’s Afterword, “What good is any of this, after all, if it’s not useful when we most need it?” Now there’s a smart boy.

The second big thing I learned is that blogs can turn into books – and as the owner of a fledgling publishing company I think that’s truly awesome.

And now a special offer for my dear readers – buy a copy of Vegetarian Vampires and What We Can Learn From Them for A$30.00 and I’ll twist my publisher’s arm to throw in a second copy for free. I’ve even sign them both to whomever you want. Just leave a comment on this blogpost.

Oh, and one final thing – watch this space because now we have a taste for this ‘getting books published’ caper, the next one entitled The Dalai Lama in My Letterbox about (you’ve probably guessed) the Big Breast Adventure will be hot on Vegetarian Vampire’s heels.

All the breast!