Publishers of books that change lives

Mick Miller – Learning to ‘go with the flow’

Mick Miller had an incredible career as a high performance coach for some of Australia’s top athletes, including Olympians, Rugby League teams and America’s Cup campaigns.  He was used to living a life on four-year Olympic cycles, with constant demands on his time and resources, high pressure to reach KPIs, high stress and even higher expectations. He was constantly pushing, pushing, pushing! ‘I was looking after everybody else, but not really looking after myself,’ said Mick.

He swam every morning at Newport Beach. One day he swam over a clump of seaweed at the northern end of the beach and observe how it just drifted with the current of the ocean – it just went with the flow. Mick thought about how amazing it would be to live life like that, to just go with the flow.  When he got out of the water he felt a lump on his neck, a swollen gland that he hadn’t noticed before. Three weeks and two operations later he was given the diagnosis of neck and throat cancer. One of the doctors told Mick, ‘Mate, we are going to have to nearly kill you to make you better. I had put to everything on hold, including the mortgage, closed my business and embarked on the first day of the rest of my life.’

Mick was convinced that he would be able to cruise through the treatment, pretend everything was normal and not tell anyone he had cancer, for reasons he is still not quite sure why.  He quickly learned that it wasn’t going to be quite that simple.  Treatment started well, but the wheels began to fall off about halfway through. Paula Macleod, the Head and Neck Cancer Care Coordinator at Royal North Shore Hospital, asked him one day: ‘Mick, why do you keep trying to crash through the brick wall when there is a door there that you can easily open?’  Mick knew then that he just had to surrender, ‘go with the flow’ like that seaweed at the beach and ask for some help.

Mick soon realised that, just like in the sporting arena, a team approach is vital and that in the hospital he had an amazing team around him for support consisting of nurses, dieticians, medical and radiation oncologists, and surgeons. ‘My recovery really was a team effort and every single person contributed in some way or another.  From the dedicated team at the hospital, my sister Laura, special friend Robbie, my friends who organised rosters, drove me to treatment, cooked meals and had me to stay in their homes.  Friends who would call or text, hold my hand, laugh at my jokes, inspire me and encourage my dreams or simply those who had me in their thoughts.  It was important to surround myself with the right people, with the right energy – an incredible bunch of people who helped guide me through the whole experience.”

After leaving hospital, Mick decided to make a few changes in his life, treat each day as a gift and go with the flow. Post-treatment and some 25kg lighter, he took a holistic approach to healing with regular appointments with a psychologist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, naturopath, massage therapist and physiotherapist, truly investing in himself and his recovery.

He also decided to embark on a journey of recovery and discovery, circumnavigating Australia in his 1968 sky blue VW Beetle fondly named The Rocket, raising funds and awareness for post-cancer recovery.  His travels led to world acclaim through his blog, ‘Travelling Australia Mick’s Way’ and then the publication of his inspirational book with the same title.  A portion from the sale of each copy of Travelling Australia Mick’s Way is donated to help cancer patients and their families post cancer treatment via The Tomorrow Trust, which helps to bring some normality back into the lives of cancer patients and their families.

Today Mick is a much sought after public speaker, performance coach and freelance radio commentator. Mick is passionate about giving back and helping other cancer patients and their families, often touching base with new cancer patients referred to him for a chat by Paula Macleod.

‘Life is different now, I consciously choose not to brand anything good or bad, it is just different and everything that I have experienced is exactly that: an experience.  All these experiences have helped shape me to become who I am today and have given me a much clearer perspective on life: no fears, no expectations, no rush –  just going with the flow.’

Mick Miller


What I learned from reading a book written for ‘children’

In my role as Publishing Manager of Finch I do not always have time to edit or proof read most of our books.  They are sent to freelancers once I have read through the initial manuscript and decided on a course of action. Does this manuscript need rewriting or is it fine to send straight to an editor? Does it need trimming for length or expanding some sections? Is the writing quality good enough? Does the author actually make sense?  However, sometimes I find myself taking in author’s and proof reader corrections and become hooked on a particular idea or theme of a manuscript that  wasn’t immediately clear to me before. Such was the case when I was doing some work on a manuscript called Unlocking Your Child’s Genius by Andrew Fuller.

Now, I am no genius! And this book isn’t for genius children either.  But in one chapter, which covers the process of having to make difficult decisions, I found myself thinking…wait, this is not just for kids, this is a really invaluable chapter for anyone of any age!  As I got further into it, and saw all the underlying processes that go into making decisions,  I began to wonder how I had managed to get through my life without this advice. In fact after re-reading the rest of the book I began to wonder how I had made it through life at all!

Another valuable chapter for me was ‘Practising to Improve’, which included information on the art of deliberate practice. This applied mainly to sports, but could be used in any endeavour. Deliberate practice is identifying a skill that needs improvement and working on improving that skill. This sounds quite basic but how many times do you find yourself just doing the things you are good at and kind of ‘forgetting’ or not wanting to practice the things you are not so good at? For me, a lot! In my chosen sport of dressage riding, deliberate practice has become a very big part of my training. It was also fascinating to learn about mirror neurons and the way we can actually improve our own skills just by watching someone else do something. I thought this happened to me only because I was a ‘visual’ learner, but to find out there is actually a process in the brain that ‘mirrors’ activity was amazing. (Maybe everyone already knew this…but I didn’t.)

All in all I felt somewhat humbled by also invigorated by reading this book for ‘children’. I suppose the biggest lesson of all is that we never stop learning!

Unlocking your child’s genius by Andrew Fuller is available at all good bookstores and online now.

Peter Berner and Creatives Unleashed

Finch Publishing, Sydney Art Space and Made In Design presented…

Creatives Unleashed, an afternoon where artisans and locals were able to mingle and meet. It is always fascinating to meet the people who create objects that we love to have in our lives, and it was also an opportunity to try your hand at creating your own unique art piece.

The event was definitely boosted by the appearance of Peter Berner , comedian, illustrator and author of THE BOOK OF HE and his new October release THE BOOK OF THEY.

Peter took over the art space, unleashing his own creative energy in the form of his familiar, slightly skewered take on life cartoons. He spoke about the importance of art in his own professional development as an illustrator/comedian and author.

Where does Peter get his burning energy from?

He came, he saw, he definitely tried to get in the way….. thanks Peter.

The success of this initial event will ensure it takes place again in this unique creative environment.

So watch this space..

Talking Baby receives another outstanding review

Talking Baby receives another outstanding review

“In this puddle-jumper from down under, child language talkingbaby-jpg121616development lecturer ­Maclagan and speech-language therapist Buckley set forth a just-technical-enough look at how children acquire language and how to best support its development. Beginning with infancy, the authors encourage parents to talk, talk, talk, about anything and to leave time for “response” (anything the baby does is her “turn” in the conversation). They do an excellent job of explaining why language and motor development often coincide (first sounds happen after six months when babies become vertical and the tongue is no longer “flopping against the back of the mouth”), and further details what language acquisition parents can best support at that time, such as “performatives,” which are words associated with gestures (e.g., “bye bye”). Librarians would do well to follow and suggest the authors’ reading recommendations, such as choosing books with rhythm and rhyme for infants so they can focus on voice, and then moving on to books that stimulate gleeful recognition of everyday life (bedtime, bathing, block play) for one- and two-year-olds. VERDICT This commendable title provides exactly what parents need without becoming bogged down in research and academics. For all libraries.”

Check out the full review here

James M Miller Author of the Priests – comments following a Newcastle Herald Report

James M Miller Author of The Priests Comments on Newcastle Herald Report…

My book, The Priests, has just been mentioned in dispatches from the Royal Commission, regarding testimony by international canon law expert, Fr Tom Doyle (USA). It is reported in the Newcastle Herald by that legendary journalist and my friend, Joanne McCarthy.

(I wish I could share this with Man Chung Li; my sweetheart supported all of my work in this area, she listened to my ideas and sharpened them up. Thanks, Sweetie!)

The link is here:…/royal-commission-into-insti…/…

And the relevant part is:

“Doyle has just given evidence supporting James Miller’s view on celibacy. Miller is a barrister and author of the the book, The Priests, in which he recounted abuse by the late St Pius X Adamstown principal Father Tom Brennan, and alleged Brennan had a sexual relationship with another priest/teacher, the late Patrick Helferty.

“There is another layer that is not openly discussed and that’s the fact that the celibacy issue creates a power link between the superiors and the priests, a controlling link that you have there. – Dr Tom Doyle ”

Miller alleged in his book that the sexual relationship between Brennan and Helferty allowed notorious St Pius X priest/teacher John Denham to blackmail Brennan and continue abusing boys at the school for years, and beyond when he left the school.

Miller has argued the Catholic Church must address the celibacy issue, and remove mandatory celibacy, because of the ability to control clerics who are supposed to be celibate.

Doyle refers to it as “the controlling link”.

Rolling coverage by Joanne McCarthy of the Royal Commission hearings into the Catholic Church.

Finch Publishing Manager’s pick for a great Christmas gift

Finch Publishing Manager’s pick for a great Christmas gift

The Grass Was Always browner

Sacha Jones in costume and ready for a performance

Sacha Jones in costume and ready for a performance

Girls born in suburban Sydney in the 1970s were rarely called Sacha, particularly girls who aspired to be Russian ballet dancers.  Although having the wrong head, feet, and body for ballet, thanks in part to drinking too much Nestle’s pink milk and sugar-laden homemade lemonade, Sacha’s determination to be a prima ballerina saw her push through and against the odds succeed in becoming something of a dancing star, surprising no-one more than her legendary dance teacher – an actual Russian – Mrs Tanya Pearson (Mrs P). This is a hilarious memoir of growing up in 70s suburban Australia and of big dreams …that sometimes come true.

a memoir by Sacha Jones

The Grass Was Always Browner






‘Jones delivers her story in a refreshingly upbeat tone, laughing loudly at herself with equal insight and humour, and refusing to sink into self-pity even as she describes the often-cruel rigours of the ballet world she is so desperate to succeed in – all on a breakfast-only diet (plus cake and laxatives on Saturdays).’
Review from Massey University, NZ

Available Now at all good bookstores and online.



Welcome to the wonderful, slightly-out-of-control world of Mandy Nolan.

Everyone has an Aunty, girlfriend, Mother or Grandmother who deserves
to be introduced to Mandy Nolan’s world this Christmas.

What I Would Do If I Were You


As a stand-up comedian, an artist and a mother of five children ranging in age from toddler to teenager, her on-stage accounts of her family life have entertained audiences for years. What I Would Do If I Were You is a hilarious collection of stories centred around Mandy’s chaotic and dysfunctional family – and her attempts to be like the perfect, ideal mother she knows exists … somewhere. Whether it is trying to revive her children’s dying guinea pig, coping with their Face­book friends, explaining the dangers of sex and drugs (while hoping desperately they don’t find out about her own wild past ), battling against head lice or struggling to regain her own disappearing self-identity, Mandy will make you laugh while also sighing with recognition. A must read for all harried mums!

‘Yikes! It’s rare to come across writing that’s so brutally honest, so magnificent, so hilarious!’  
Amanda Keller, presenter The Living Room, Channel 10 and Jonesy and Amanda in the morning, WSFM 101.7

‘…Mandy Nolan’s honesty is stunning. This book will twist your heart inside out and then have you roaring with laughing a moment later.’ Fiona O’Loughlin, stand-up comic



Boyfriends we’ve all had – Mandy Nolan

I will never forget my first love letter. It was a moment that opened me to the possibility that I could be the object of someone else’s desire. I was 11 years old. It was simple, strangely poignant and obnoxious, all at the same time. It said:

 ‘My name is William Sommerfield.
I wear white. I have seen you on the bus.
If you don’t go with me
You can get ******.’

In Boyfriends We’ve All Had (and Shouldn’t Have) Mandy Nolan turns her acerbic wit onto boyfriends past … and no one escapes her observations. From the needy besotted drip to the brooding unavailable bad boy, from Mr New Age to Mr Moody, Mandy has seen them all come and go in her quest for Mr Right. This is a hilarious and revealing look at the emotional, pot-boiling mess and angst of romantic relationships.

It’s wicked. Sometimes touching. But always funny. And did we mention wicked?
You have been warned …

‘Mandy Nolan is an irresistible force of Mother Nature – smart, ballsy and scandalously, uproariously funny. She can also write like a dream.’ David Leser, journalist

‘I have learnt more reading two chapters of Boyfriends than I have from the joy of sex, the Karma Sutra and 40 years of Penthouse Forum combined. This book should come with a warning: “contains truth”. – Tex Perkins

Home Truths

Home Truths by Mandy Nolan

Home Truths – Mandy Nolan

Following hot on the heels of her successful and wickedly funny What I Would Do If I Were You and Boyfriends We’ve All Had (But Shouldn’t Have), comes Home Truths, a laugh-out-loud examination of home renovation  by comedian Mandy Nolan. For anyone who has ever dreamt of owning, building, renovating or perhaps bulldozing their home, this collection of witty insights and reflections on what makes up a ‘home’ will be compulsory reading. Enjoy’s Mandy’s unique take on all things home building and decorating: the number of cushions a bed can handle, the social-status enhancing swimming pool, the his and hers bathrooms, the joys of Christmas shopping with your partner, the taps and tile dramas and the never-ending discussion of where the dog is actually allowed to go in the newly landscaped backyard…

 ‘Eat a donut, drink a coffee, read this book… now there’s a perfect day.’
Glenn Robbins, comedian and actor


What does your poo say about you? Find out in Holistic Nutrition

What does your poo say about you? And more ways to make you healthier and happier in
Holistic Nutrition

SHINE – What does it take to create a World Cup winning team? Some great support people – Angie Bain, Wellbeing Manager

Angie Bain, Wellbeing Manager (joined the Diamonds in 2013)

Lisa’s (Alexander, coach of the Diamonds) holistic approach to player welfare is one that is shared by counsellor Angie Bain. The pair had worked together 15 years previously and stayed in contact since, often chatting about how they could better support the wellbeing of players they worked with. Angie’s wide-ranging career had seen her work with a range of different sports from state to international level, and she had been involved with netball for many years. It was while she was working with one of the ANZ Championship teams that Angie noticed that she had to deal with the fallout from increasingly stressed players, to the point that their training and competition performance was being impacted.

Angie Bain - Wellbeing Manager, The Australian Diamonds

Angie Bain – Wellbeing Manager, The Australian Diamonds

‘Many of their stressors related to transition,’ said Angie. ‘Players starting to move  interstate  to  join  a  different  team,  living  away  from  home,  relationship issues  based  on  relocating,  financial  issues,  balancing  their  netball  career  with study or work, questioning where they are at in their life, and where netball fits now that they’re a little bit older, transitioning in and out of the Diamonds. Netball is basically a fly-in, fly-out lifestyle now, which has its own unique set of demands and challenges. Lisa and I were talking over the first year of her national coaching role and she started to see similar things at that level.

‘Lisa went away and did some research with her players to find out what the key services were that they needed to be successful. Wellbeing came out as the main theme – they wanted to be supported as people, not just as players.’ Twelve months later, Angie was appointed as the Diamond’s Wellbeing Manager, with a brief to build personal relationships with the players and their families, learn about their lives away from netball and give them tools to help deal with the stresses involved with being an elite athlete. Although Netball Australia started the role on a trial basis, it was quickly recognised as being of vital importance to the players.

Shine Cover FinalAngie’s first contact with the Diamonds squad came during a camp in 2013. She said, ‘I was quite intimidated by being in the Australian environment to start with and thought it would probably take three to six months to build up some level of trust. But they started having conversations with me straight away, they were just ready and yearning for someone to talk to about all the other important stuff in their life that has an impact on their netball.’ With her role limited to just four hours per week, phone calls and emails with the players and franchise wellbeing managers are Angie’s main methods of communication until she can see them on a Diamond’s camp or tour, where she can speak with players face to face. She fits in around their other commitments making time to chat with them over a quick coffee, during a bus trip or in a more structured and private session.

Find out more about the making of this successful team in SHINE – The making of the Australian Netball Diamonds

What I Actually Think of the Paleo Diet – Kate Callaghan

Our author Kate Callaghan responds to an article in the recent Body + Soul publication. To read the full article go to this link here Body + Soul.

Here is an extract of the blog that Kate has recently posted in response to the article.  If you would like to read the full response here is the link to Kate’s website.

These are some of the questions that Kate was asked – and here are her responses in full.

Kate Callaghan talking about the Paleo Diet

Kate Callaghan

What is your opinion on the Paleo diet?

If implemented appropriately to ensure all nutrients are acquired, and it is tailored to the individual, I think it can be a wonderful way of eating. It also has the potential to heal, or at least manage, many health conditions, and can be a great option for those needing to lose weight.

Note: I actually prefer the term “ancestral eating” as opposed to “paleo diet”, as I don’t think we need to go back as far as paleo man to get a good idea of what we should be eating. I talk about this at length in my book “Holistic Nutrition: Eat Well, Train Smart & Be Kind to Your Body”


What are some of the benefits and some of the dangers of the Paleo diet?


Encourages the consumption of a range of fresh vegetables and fruit, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre

Encourages eating locally and seasonally, which means more nutritious foods, kinder to the environment (less transport required), and supports local producers

Avoids unhealthy packaged and processed foods that are devoid of nutrients, such as cakes and biscuits

Avoids foods that can be problematic for many people, such as gluten-containing grains, legumes and dairy products

Encourages the consumption of ethically and appropriately raised animal products,and encourages the consumption of the WHOLE animal (including organs and bones), which is less wasteful, and more respectful of the animal (and more nutritious – which I talk at length about in my book, as well as how to prepare them in a tasty way!)

Is not a “one-size-fits-all” – the Paleo diet/ancestral eating is more of a template, which can be tweaked to suit the individual. For example, some people will do better with a low carb paleo diet, while others will need to increase their carbohydrate intake to help them feel their best. I discuss different strategies for specific conditions (such as PCOS, HA and menopause) in my book, Holistic Nutrition

Encourages people to not fear unrefined fats (such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil), which are essential to our health (hormone health, brain health, gut health, and cellular integrity, to name a few)

Is a highly satiating diet (thanks to the fat content)

Encourages the adoption of different lifestyle practices that are biologically appropriate, and health-promoting, such as lifting heavy things periodically, walking in nature, making time to play, incorporating stress management techniques and ensuring optimal sleep


If not implemented appropriately, there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies. For example, many people who start on the Paleo diet will only consume the muscle meat of animals, and neglect the organs. By doing so, they are missing out on some amazing sources of vitamins and minerals

Many women who turn to a paleo diet tend to cut out all carbohydrates (including root veggies and fruit), which can cause issues with their menstrual health and fertility,especially when combined with high intensity interval training (such as CrossFit). This is something I really delve into in my book “Holistic Nutrition” which is now available for sale. Check it out!

Some people see the paleo diet as an “eat meat all the time” diet. If we look historically at what our ancestors ate, most of them had a very plant-based diet (some getting up to 150g of fibre from plants, which is about 5 times the recommended intake of today). While animal protein is a wonderful source of nutrition and should be included as part of a wholesome diet, it’s not necessary, or even healthy, to have every meal of every day.

Something called “bulletproof coffee” has become quite popular in the paleo community. This is coffee blended with coconut oil (medium-chain-triglycerides) and butter. Many people choose to have this in place of breakfast. Unfortunately, while completely fine to consume during the day, this drink is really lacking in vitamins and minerals. Replacing a whole meal with it could increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies

Eat well, train well and be kind to your body

Is there any validity to claims that we need to “eat like our ancestors”?

Absolutely! But I don’t think that necessarily means we need to go back to the Paleolithic era. We could simply look back at what our great grandparents were eating, and draw from their experiences

Whether we go all the way back to the Paleolithic era, or our more recent ancestors, we need to focus more on what they did NOT consume, rather than what they DID. What our ancestors did not consume were unhealthy “foods” such as refined sugar, refined grains, and refined and highly processed oils.

What they also have in common is that they were all free to chronic disease, despite having greatly varied diets across the world.

There is the argument that we should not aspire to eat like “paleo man” as the lifespan was quite short, however we need to take into consideration WHY their lifespan was short – was it their diet? Or was it perhaps that they did not have access to life-saving medical facilities? For example, if they cut themselves quite badly, there was no antibiotics or medical treatment available to help them heal. This cut could then become infected, which could be fatal. They were also exposed to the elements a lot more – unlike the comforts of our modern day homes.

Find out more in detail in Kate’s book or via her website blog.