#FREE Books For My Birthday Weekend!

That’s right, those of you that know me well, know I tend to give away my books for my birthday each year as my presents to you. So, since I have my latest children’s book out there this month, “Michael and the Magic Hiccup” I’ve decided to give you the chance to download, read, and share the Kindle version of it for free from March 25 until 29 over my birthday weekend.

Click on the book cover below to take you to the Amazon page to download your free copy, and please share the word. All I ask in return, is give it a star rating and a short review when you get the chance:

Michael and the Magic Hiccup(4)

Naturally, if you like the Kindle version and want a hard copy, it’s also available in paperback on the same page. If you like the illustrations and want to colour them in, click on this link to download a pdf of all 22 black and white pictures in the book.

#FREE Colouring Sheets for Children

Everybody loves colouring sheets, don’t they? Well, since I’ve finished and published my latest children’s book, Michael and the Magic Hiccup (available to buy now by clicking the link) I’ve decided to let you see all the artwork within the book as a pdf so you can have fun colouring the pictures in!

22 Free Colouring Sheets!

Here’s the pdf link to download all twenty-two black and white illustrations from my latest children’s book:

Michael Colouring Pages

New Children’s Book Coming Soon!

It’s been a bit peaceful over here on my blog, as I’ve been distracted promoting my charity Christmas song on my band website, but my writing and artwork projects have still been simmering in the background.

Michael and the Magic Hiccup – Coming Soon!

Although I wrote this story back in 1998 before I emigrated to the US, like many of my other works that have only been more recently published, this too slipped through the cracks. In my twenties as an up-and-coming writing sensation, having written ‘Eric, the Brick‘, I had bragged that I could write a story about anything. I was challenged to write this story by a close associate at the time based upon five random words/ items: a goldfish, a teapot, a broom, a ginger cat, and  a dragon. The obvious solution was a fairy-tale about a common or garden gnome!

Here’s a sneak peek at a draft idea for some of the cover art:

Colour cover draft

Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting up other artwork and a sample chapter to read as the weeks progress. Naturally I will let you all know when the book is finally available for pre-order in due course. Read a sample of the book here: First Sample

THANKS FOR LEAVING THE SEAT DOWN

A little poem for all the women out there in Cyberland…
 

THANKS FOR LEAVING THE SEAT DOWN

 
I love the little things you do,
Like leaving the seat down on the loo,
And not just after you have a poo,
I wish other men were as thoughtful as you,
It really isn’t that hard to do.
 
(A.J. Donnelly)

***

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Anthony Donnelly is a British author, actor, and life coach, more recently known for his charity, children’s book series, “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”, which is available to buy on Amazon by clicking the book cover to the right.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Pattaya, Thailand

If you are visiting Thailand and looking for a reputable elephant experience, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary just outside Pattaya (or any of their three other locations for that matter!) I promise you it will be something that will stay with you forever.

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If you’re in a rush, click on the image above to go to their website

Just before Christmas last year, I had the good fortune to visit an old friend in Thailand for the first time. One of the items on my ‘Must Do‘ list was to spend time with some elephants, as I’ve loved them since I was a kid – I mean, who doesn’t love elephants? A quick online search showed there were three choices in the Pattaya area, but which were ethical and not just tourist traps that exploited the creatures? It didn’t take long to discover the only one that didn’t mistreat the elephants was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The other two sites chained their elephants, let people ride them – which is a totally no-no as it’s not good for them – and their were even reports of the elephants at other sites being beaten in view of the visitors!!!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – My Experience in Words and Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll try and balance the two, and hopefully not bore you with either too many words or too many pictures, but I wish to capture my wonderful experience as best I can, not only for your benefit, but also in the hope that it will shed more light and support on this wonderful organisation and their great work

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The sanctuary offers a number of experiences dependent upon the amount of time you have and your budget, from a quick visit to see and pet them all the way up to a whole day trekking with them. I opted for something in the middle, which could either be a morning or afternoon experience. The price for this was 2500 Thai Baht, which worked out to be about sixty quid. Now, before you go screaming to the hills about the price, first remember the Baht is at an all-time high, but hear what you get for your money. This price included return transportation from my hotel (which would have cost at least 1000 Baht!) and a superb meal (which would have cost upwards of 500 Baht!) And that’s before I’ve told you what you get for the rest of your money (1000 Baht) which if you don’t think is terrific value for money, you probably can’t afford to travel to Thailand anyway, and should really think about buying a good book and a stay-cation instead!

What You Get For 1000 Baht

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I opted for the afternoon experience which began with the taxi picking me up from my hotel at 12.30. We stopped twice along the way to pick up two other elephant-lovers, and half an hour later we were out of the noisy city and in the countryside, bouncing up a dirt road towards the sanctuary. There was already a group of other eager elephant-lovers milling around the facility and interacting with the animals, and the guides told us to get to know the elephants while we waited for one more small group to arrive.

The Pattaya location had managed to rescue six elephants (other locations have more, especially the oldest site in Chang Mai to the north of Thailand) which ranged from the youngest, who was only three years old, all the way up to the Grandpa, who was over sixty! No matter what age, elephants are just so amazingly cute. Apart from on telly and in London zoo, I’ve never seen an elephant in the flesh, so to be in such close vicinity to these peaceful, majestic ‘land whales’ is almost beyond words to describe, but I’ll try.

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It’s hard to see, but this lovely lady is almost due to give birth!

The most obvious thing about elephants are their size, but they are anything but scary, as they move very slowly and cautiously – apart from their trunks when there’s food around! They have a very calm, almost meditative aura about them, and my first reaction was to just go up to this ‘mummy-to-be’ elephant and give her a big hug and kiss on the nose. As you would expect, their skin is very thick and tough, and stroking them is like getting an exfoliation! By the time the last group arrived by taxi, I’d said hello to all six elephants, and had learnt a lot from the many guides and handlers that were on site.

Feeding Time!

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Our group was approximately 40 in total, and came from all corners of the world. After a brief introduction given in very good English by one of the guides, outlining the action plan for the afternoon, safety protocol, and the ‘do’s and don’ts’ around elephants, it was time for the first activity: feeding the elephants! There were many, many baskets of food (bananas, cucumbers, and other vegetation) which we could feed the elephants either by holding it out and letting them grab it with their trunks, or – if we were feeling brave – say the word, “Bonn” and they would open their mouths, stick out their tongues, and we could feed them directly!

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Naturally, I chose to feed them directly, and was amazed how easy it was (and how enormous their tongues are!) There was so much food, it was probably about half an hour before all the food had gone, and the whole time was filled will laughter, amazement, and pure child-like bliss for all participants (and even a few strange shrieks from some of the more timid participants who got ‘goosed’ by the odd trunk or two!) As we were feeding the elephants, the wonderful aroma of Thai cooking wafted through the air, as the cooks prepared our meal.

The Elephant Mud Spa!

Having been instructed to change into our swimming gear, next on the agenda was to grab more bananas and lead the elephant troop alone a dusty pathway to their muddy watering hole for a well-earned mud spa! Guess who lead the way…?

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Oh, I forgot to mention, as I add all these wonderful photographs to this post, additionally in the price, there was a photographer on hand snapping merrily away, so you didn’t have to worry about missing anything, and could just focus on fully enjoying the experience! That probably would have cost another 1000 Baht to arrange!

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I don’t know who’s muddier, me or the baby elelphant!

Time to strip off and get muddy! Since I was there during the dry season, their mud hole was particularly dry, but the staff had prepared for that and there were plenty of buckets and wheel barrows full of lovely, sloppy mud for us to play with. Being almost 50, this experience simply knocked the years off me, as I became a big kid again! Looking around at the others, I could tell I wasn’t alone in this experience, especially as the guides actively encouraged us to get muddy ourselves!

Rinse and Scrub Time!

Like any good spa treatment, at some point you have to get clean again, and this is where the REAL fun began…

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Armed with water bowls and scrubbing brushes, we and the elephants plodded to the other side of the path where their ‘swimming pool’ was, and actively began tossing water over the elephants and ourselves, scrubbing them clean. We were all upstaged by baby elephant to immediately lay on his side, completely submerged, with only the end of his trunk sticking out of the water like a snorkel, and began to thrash his legs about with glee!

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If you look VERY closely, you can just see baby elephant in the water in front of me.

Playtime over, it was time to lead the elephants back to camp, and have a proper shower and clean-up before dinner time. All of the facilities were clean, in great working order, and more than you would have expected for such a remote and basic location – trust me, I witnessed far worse facilities in some of the bars and restaurants in Pattaya!

Our Thai buffet was ready and waiting for us with food aplenty! They had even catered for all participants dietary requirements with vegetarian and vegan options, and fruit to finish off with. Between bites of food, the conversation was filled with expressions of how amazing the experience had been and, “Way more than I had expected…” and, “This is such great value for money…!”

And as if that wasn’t enough, they had even more surprises: each of us got a reusable, sustainable shopping bag as a keepsake and reminder of our experience, and there was one final activity before our taxi rides home, but I’ll let you search their website to find out what this one is! The only clue I’ll give you is that it sure surprised me…!

Find Out More About Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I hope I’ve whet your appetite and you’re keen to know more, or have the experience yourself. If that’s the case, or you simply want to help spread the word about their great work, please share this post, use the links below to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and generally spread the word!

Website: https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ejspattaya/

Twitter: @ejspattaya

***

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Anthony Donnelly is a British author, actor, and life coach, more recently known for his charity, children’s book series, “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”, which is available to buy on Amazon by clicking the book cover to the right.

Dublin Book Launch – Charlie, The Migrating Snail

May 4th sees the official launch of Charlie, The Migrating Snail, but there are lots of exciting things happening in the run-up to the afternoon event.

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Aimee and Grace, the wonderful, young illustrators

Our young illustrators – Aimee and Grace – are getting a lot of attention in the media, and rightly so with their wonderful goal of raising 10,000 Euros for homelessness. They have been in the papers twice now, and made it onto the front cover of the newspaper this time. Well done girls!

Radio Interviews

Aimee’s Mother, Lisa, will be on the local radio (Together FM) this coming Saturday (27th) at 9 a.m. to talk about the project, it’s goals, and to promote the launch event on May 4th. If you click on the Together FM website you can also read a nice article about the girls’ project.

My tickets are booked, and I’m getting very excited to fly out to Dublin for the first time to meet some of my young readers and do a book signing. I will also be interviewed for the first time about my book and the project by Together FM the following Friday (May 3rd) at 10 a.m.

Book Launch

From 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. (with the possibility of it running into overtime!) on May 4th at the Ballyfermot Community Civic Center, there will be lots of exciting things for families to do including refreshments, face painting, a reading of part of the book by me, and a whole host of other things, including a colouring competition!

It’s lovely that this is a community event, as the issue of homelessness is a community challenge. It is only by leveraging the power of the community spirit that we will have a chance at alleviating (and hopefully eradicating) this problem. Everyone is welcome, so spread the word…!

I very much look forward to meeting you all there.

 

Front Page News…!

IT ISN’T EVERY DAY YOU GET TO MAKE HEADLINE NEWS.

In the wake of the Notre Dame fire and other tragic news, it is very refreshing to know that people doing good deeds can also get some space in the media, albeit if it is only at a local level.

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(Scroll down for the full article)

I can only imagine how excited these two, young teenage girls must be feeling to see themselves on the front page of their local newspaper! Rightly deserved for what they are attempting to do with my little book. Trying to raise 10,000 Euros for an under-funded charity in Dublin (ICHH) that is actively helping the homeless is a mammoth undertaking. In a time when far too many teenagers seem only interested in social media gossip, knife crime, gangs, and other antisocial behaviours, it is so inspiring to know there are young adults out there that have a social conscience and wish to make a positive impact on their environment. Well done girls, recognition well deserved!

Notre Dame

Although the fire in Paris has shocked the world, it saddens me to see that so much money can be raised so quickly for a BUILDING. As historic and beautiful as it may be, there are still millions of PEOPLE at home and around the world that are homeless and in desperate need of help. My only ‘silver lining’ is that if people can unite like this for one of our ancient monuments, just imagine what we could achieve if we all decided to follow the lead of the Dublin community and joined together to help stamp out homelessness forever?

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Click here to order your copy of Charlie, The Migrating Snail – Book One

How To Overcome Fear – Part Three

As StarTrek should say, “FEAR… The final frontier!”

Think about it. What is stopping YOU from taking on the world and becommy_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleing EVERYTHING you were BORN to BE…? It’s not space, I can tell you that much! It’s…

F-E-A-R…!

  • Fuck
  • Everything
  • And
  • Run…!

That’s MY acronym. But eventually you’ll run out of energy and stop. But guess what, FEAR is right there with you, because it’s within you, with you, around you. The ONLY way to combat fear is to take it on with action. So, in Part Three, the next step in taking control over your fears is to list the top three fears you have and tackle them head-on!

What are YOUR top three fears?

This is the biggest step you’ll ever take in overcoming your fears. Once you KNOW that everybody has them, but doesn’t know how to deal with them, hopefully you’ll feel more comfortable sharing your insecurities. Once they are out of your head and in the public domain, they have no more power over you, especially if you have taken the steps to love yourself and invest in your own self-value.

In the spirit of sharing, here are my three biggest fears:

  1. Asking for help/ showing weakness
  2. Opening up/ Letting people in
  3. Lack of recognition/ rejection

I think I’ve tackled them in this blog post, and that was part of the idea. I still need help, but I’ve done it. The next step is having the confidence to get out there and do some public speaking on the subject…!

Once you know what your top three fears are, make a conscious effort every day to do what scares you most. Take baby steps at first, but make it part of your daily routine. After a while the feeling of fear will become less and less until it becomes small enough to manage. It may even disappear completely! Trust me, once you have taken control over your fears, there really will be nothing to hold you back in life.

Thank you for following and reading.

***

my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleAnthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.

 

 

 

How To Overcome Fear – Part Two

my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleAfter the overwhelming response to How To Overcome Fear 101, my first article on the subject, I decided to do overcoming fear 202, or Part Two!

We’ve all experienced fear at one time or another, so let’s just dwell on that for a minute. Here’s a short exercise that might help you the next time fear arises in your life:

  1. Think of something in the past you were afraid of, but aren’t any more.
  2. Go back in time in your memory to when you were afraid (it won’t feel the same, as you’ve gone past it, but try to remember how you felt)
  3. Try as best as you can to visualize yourself trying to confront it.
  4. The more you thought about NOT doing it, the bigger and more frightening it became, right?
  5. What did you do and think about to NOT confront it?
  6. That didn’t help, did it?
  7. Now either one of two things happened: A. You were forced to confront it, or B. You were brave enough to tackle it yourself.
  8. You came out the other side and YOU SURVIVED…!

Overcoming fear is a daily challenge for us all at some level. What is scary to some isn’t for others, don’t let other people laugh at your fears, they are genuine and justified! Learning to confront and deal with our fears is part of life. How you choose to deal with your fear obstacles will determine how far you go in life. As you remember back to that fear you overcame, what did you do to overcome it?

If you can relate to the exercise above, why not think about that a little longer while I share my favorite quotation:

“Fear lives in the future.

Regret lives in the past.

Live in the Present, for that is what it is, a gift.”

AND that is my best advice to you when dealing with FEAR… bring it into the present moment. If you’d followed the guidance of article one, you’ve written it down, you’ve taken it out of your head, now it’s time to live in the NOW.

Far too many people are not living the lives they were born to live, because they are afraid of what might happen. In all my years of working with people, the two biggest obstacles are fear of DEATH and fear of the UNKNOWN. Personally, I lump them both together, as none of us know what death actually is, so it’s unknown. So, what are they actually afraid of when they say they are scared of Death or the Unknown?

My answer is that they don’t know who they are.

I don’t want to get too philosophical, but we can’t know Death until we die, and by definition the unknown is unknowable, so why stress and worry about it? At the core of both is the questioner – your self – you are not dead, and if you know yourself, you know enough to live your life.

In Part Three we’ll look at actually tackling your fears head-on…

 

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my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleAnthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.

 

 

 

Cashing in on Christmas: FREE BOOK!

Most authors of self-help books might be cashing in at this time of the year, especially if it’s one about setting goals and New Year’s Resolutions, but because I want people to actually read and benefit from my book, it’s FREE all this weekend, and if you can’t afford to buy the book after this offer expires, you can email me here and I’ll send you a free pdf or audio file!

“Set goals that you are willing to fail for.”

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