Is that word on the tip of your tongue?

Have you ever had that awful feeling when the word you want is tantalisingly close but won’t quite come into your conscious brain.Well help is at hand with this fantastic site called Visual Thesaurus.

Connection thesaurus

All you need to do is think of a word sort of like’ish the one that, oh crikey, what is it now, you are trying to think of and the site does the rest.

[Ed: one of these days, someone is going to build a social network showing the degrees of connection using the ThinkMap SDK – you heard it here first]

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Of course, if you prefer the linear approach, you can always use the plain text

Another great way of increasing your vocabulary is subscribing to the Word of the Day from

The Story of Ermintrude – the text version

Walk the Walk endWriting a book is a journey.

I started this particular journey on route to a much needed holiday. It was largely written at 35,000 feet in a Virgin 747 somewhere over the mid-Atlantic on the 25th April 2006. So this makes Ermintrude a 5 mile high baby.

I completed this journey, or at least the first part of it, on a sunny, spring Sunday morning in May, at 7:30 a.m. on May 20th 2007, having walked around London for 26.2 miles in a bra with furry cows for tassels with more than 15,000 women and a few hundred men.

I’d just completed Walk the Walk’s 10th anniversary Moonwalk. This is something you don’t expect to do as a result of writing a book and wasn’t on my “Things I Must Do Before I Die” list.

The back story behind 100 Years of Ermintrude is almost as inspiring as the stories themselves. It’s a story of how two people can come together, work to their strengths and combine their talents to produce something neither could achieve by themselves.

I met Jaquetta Trueman, a talented graphic designer, through a business network called Ecademy. At the time, I’d just trained to be a practitioner for an elegant and inspiring procedure called The Core Process which generates a pair of words to describe the raw essence of a person – their soul name if you like. These words are always wonderful and, when people work to them, they become purposeful, contented and unstoppable.

My two words happen to be “Breathing Life” and that’s what I do professionally for businesses, and people, by inspiring them to manifest their dreams.

Jaquetta had engaged me to discover her two words and we found together that she really was “Realizing Excellence”. As a bit of a bonus for Jaquetta, I did my natural “Breathing Life” trick and, in an instant, created a new business idea to take her into a whole new market.

“Why not make ebooks actually readable for computers and other portable devices?” I suggested. “Most of the time, they are just PDF’s of Word documents. Readers just end up scrolling up and down on screen and often just print them out anyway.”

Armed with her two new words and a cracking new business idea, Jaquetta went off and started to find new clients who wanted a graphic makeover of their ebooks to make them more readable. She found a few prospects but all failed to deliver their content so, when she relayed this to me, I said with customary bravado “I’ll write one then.”

The concept I came up with was relatively simple. I thought it would be neat to make a whole life readable, on the Internet, in just a few minutes. I had never written a birthday card without adding a pithy ditty, so the idea came to me to write it in rhyming snapshots, perhaps even as excerpts of birthday cards that someone had received throughout their life.

I always liked novels about birth, life and death for the context they bring to our own lives. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez came to mind.

“What rhymes with Solitude?” I thought. Thinking that the Magic Roundabout generation might be the likely readers, the name Ermintrude popped into my conscious mind. So I had the title and, 33 stanzas later, the whole story just came out before the plane landed.

While on holiday, my partner Louise read it and said “Why not play it backwards?”

So on my return, Jaquetta got the whole story in her Inbox. She cried when she read it.

She waved her magic hands over the words and created a masterpiece of design and, by the 1st of June 2006, it was available for purchase and download on the Internet.

At this point, all we were thinking was that the story would be a demonstration of what can be done artistically and technically. What happened next completely took us by surprise. People started sending in online reviews like this…

“100 Years of Ermintrude is the first e-book I’ve ever bought. It’s a jewel of design and beautifully written – although it can be read very quickly, actually it’s something that needs to be savoured again and again

“I loved the way it begins at the end. It is so very sad in parts just like real life. I was surprised to find such an unusual and innovative approach and it rang bells with me because I have been thinking about my life and how quick it is passing lately.”

“What a stroke of genius to turn it upside down – you’re drawn further and further in, desperate to know what happened before”.

“I read – a lot! But I don’t recall ever having read anything like Ermintrude before… It only took a few minutes to read and to appreciate the imagery – and a few more to re-read… But reading it had a strange effect – a feeling of achievement.”

“What a delightful, unusual book. An excellent insight into the ages of humankind, it deserves a wide audience.”

“The 5 minutes that I spent last night reading “100 Years of Ermintrude” were some of the more thought-provoking 300 seconds that I can recall for a long time.”

“Beautiful, inspiring, moving, emotional, poignant and full from cover to cover with the most amazing energy. I am a different person for having read 100 Years of Ermintrude.”

“Very touching – and the design is just great! I’ve never read an e-book all the way through online before – I hate all the scrolling, and end up printing them off. So it was inspired to make each stanza fit exactly on a screen.”

We were naturally pleased and surprised at the response. From the start, we had decided to give a percentage of sales to charity and shortly found the book endorsed and adopted by the Walk the Walk charity for breast cancer research.

Nina Barough CBE, the inspirational founder of Walk the Walk said,

“It’s fantastic to hear how the story of Ermintrude was born. It never ceases to amaze me the many wonderful and inspirational ways that people find to raise funds for us, and I think in your case it was a happy accident that was just meant to be, so I hope that she and her family will have a long and happy fundraising life.”

Inspired by this initial success, we then set about producing both an audio and a “Jackanory-style” video version of the story. Here’s what people said about them.

“I watched/listened to Ermintrude with a couple of friends. If is fantastic, really moving. It made us all sit back and think. Afterwards the room was quite for a few minutes. It was strange, we then starting talking about who each character was. Definitely a profound effect. Then we watched it again”.

“The story made me cry so much – what a wonderful experience – thank you!”

“Ermintrude moved me to tears, made be laugh out loud and made me think so much of my own life – what an uplifting fantastic 10 minutes of pure “think” time.”

“I will read it often I’m sure, and my 18 year old daughter is already eager to see what made her mother so tearful, yet smilely – Well done to you both.”

The TrilogyFurther encouraged by this, we then wrote and designed the two sequels about the lives of Ermintrude’s children, Tristan and Lucy. The result being the book you are holding.

The message we want to convey in these stories is simple.

Live your life to the full, live every day as if it’s your last, the only time you have control over is right now. Use it, seize it, live it. Live for the Now.

So why did it end up with me “Walking the Walk”? I’m afraid, you’ll have to read to the end to find out why life emulated art.


Postscript: a few months after penning Ermintrude a couple of pennies dropped.

On the Internet, next to us on a Google search, we found the derivation of the name of Ermintrude and it is so apt. It is derived from the Germanic elements ermen “whole, universal” and þruþ “strength”.

Also, I found out that if you add all the numbers of my birth date together, they come to the number 33. 33 stanzas all 33 seconds long on the audio version – spooky.

You can find out more about Ermintrude and her family here

Workshop Feedback – 6th Feb ’08

I learned so much. I am leaving with everything I came for .. and some! Great day – really inspirational both spiritually and practically. – Heather Spencer

Loved the mind-mapping. Tom’s style is so easy and the day just flowed. Fantastic workshop. Great explanation of inspired ideas following inspired thought and great interaction. – Lis Cashin

Lovely people, lovely food. Lively, happy, creative energy. Good contacts and lasting friends. – Freya Swaffer

Very comprehensive, well researched overview and templates for creating and publishing your book. I’ve never had this much quality information on the subject in one place. Thank you Tom. – Susanne Meis

Information was very useful. I enjoyed the spiritual element and the idea that all books are channeled from the future when they are in print, from you the author or the reader. – Angela Clarke

Learned so much about the Infinite Network, the exercises were insightful and of immediate benefit. Thank you. – Joseph Warmann

I was blown away by the clarity and structure of the workbook and the passion of the presenter for the subject. Such openess, generosity for sharing thoughts, wisdom and insights. – Sue Bottomley

Well structured, useful exercises. I now know I will write 4 books and I will start by developing whitepapers and ebooks. The book was unleashed in me. – Mark Wing

Tom is an inspirational and knowledgeable facilitator. Excellent practical exercises surrounding solid advice. – Vicki Wusche

I came today with a faint idea about a book and left with solid structures to build on. All I need now is the words. – Daniela Horder

Gained some brilliant ideas. Thank you for an insightful and structured day. –

Sandie Tjok-a-Tam

Very good – structure, inspiration, resource book – and interesting people. – Susan Cole

Really made me focus on the vision. Helped me identify realistic strategies and time frames. My initial vision has now evolved into 2 books. – Liz Hawkins

The course exceeded my expectations. The structure of the day was excellent. Working in such a group gave me the inspiration I needed to get started. The workbook was in an extremely useful format. I loved the mind map as they provided an amazing visual effect on my thinking. – Val Tomlin

Excellent balance of structure and creativity. Loads of practical info on how to write and get published. – Jeni Hooper

Inspirational and motivational. Got some good ideas and helpful info on publishing. – Sue Warwick

I want to give you my thanks to you for an incredible workshop yesterday. Today I found myself mind-mapping and starting my first chapter!! (and this is after 38 years of wanting to and never starting to write my book) Just allowing the book to flow, I now find it has a life of it’s own! WOW!! I’m getting really excited as I know that a lifelong dream is now in motion – and I wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you for the part you have played. Make space for mine on that bookshelf of yours! – Lis Cashin

It’s more than just the mechanics. I love the way Tom grounds high level concepts. He really does know how to get a message across. When Tom gets going with his “breathing life” talents there is no stopping. What I found so useful is that Tom gave so much more than simply the mechanics of the process – he brought a bit of practical magic to it.
I think there are two levels of workshops. One just gives you the information. The other transforms you in some significant way. Thanks Tom, you transformed my creativity in a way that really does UNLEASH the book inside. Look out for my book by the end of the year. – Dr Lisa Turner

I’m just back from Tom’s excellent ‘Unleash the Book Inside You” event. Tom is a great presenter and has the rare quality of being able to explain abstract, complex concepts in a down-to-earth and easy-to-understand way. The day was just the right mix of Tom talking through ideas and concepts on the one hand, and exteremly useful practical exercises on the other.The exercises asked the right questions to help crystallise your reasons for wanting to write a book, getting into rapport with your readers and actually forming the outline and structure of your book.
I think the event would be a great help not only to people who want to write books, but also to anyone who needs to write creatively – for blogs and newsletter articles, for example. – Ivor Murray

If you want to connect to, and unleash, your true creative potential, then Tom is your man. He’s phenomenal! My life has certainly taken a turn for the better since I met him. Bless you, Tom! – Tina Bettinson

After an illuminating and enjoyable chat with Tom over the phone, I attended his “Unleash the Book within” seminar to support the publishing of my second title for Orangelily. Because of Tom’s unique combination of well-researched, comprehensive and highest calibre information with practical exercises and tips on accessing the higher self, – my husband, a friend of ours and myself left with the highest spirits and ready to follow our newly created maps to publishing paradise. Tom is authentic and entertaining and over delivers on his promises. I look forward to witnessing his big novel flourish. Thank you Tom. – Susanne Meis

At last Tom has started to run his Unleash your Book within workshops!
In the space of one day, he managed to remove all my fear and apprehension about writing, provide solid advice and information about the writing process, understanding your reader and ways to publish, AND enable us to have plenty of creative time.
I left the course feeling passionate about my book – “Tales of a cycling mermaid” and with an outline structure of my chapters!! – Vicki Wusche