Flying Pony

This is for spring and hail, that you may remember

a boy and a pony long ago who could fly

These lines from Les Murray’s poem Spring Hail are a perfect synthesis of my twin passions, writing and riding. Both of them are things I dreamed about doing more of when I was younger but never quite seemed to find the time for. Both require discipline and courage. And both have become essential elements of my life rather than just hobbies. 

Reading through Spring Hail again, I  remember the way it showed me how words can create a whole world for you to dive into and lose yourself. When I read this poem as a teenager in my high school English class, I sat on the log with the boy in the poem, listening with my skin to the secret feast of the sun and a few lines later charting the birdless winds with silver roads.

Now, through my writing I do what the boy did by the end of the poem – fly with my imagination to wherever the words want to take me. This blog is about writing and following your dreams. And connecting with others who are doing the same.

I Hope you Enjoy My Blog

Books Spark Joy with Darry Fraser

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Darry Fraser. Apprenticed on a number of contemporary novels in her early career, Darry returned to writing her favourite genre, Australian historical fiction in 2016. Her first published novel, Daughter of the Murray, began a series set in the 1890s on her beloved River Murray. Darry’s books are set in a rural landscape, and her new novella, Edge of the Blue (2019) is set on fictional Australis Island, which very much resembles her home. The Good Woman of Renmark is due out November 2019, and is the last in the Murray series. Darry lives and works on wild and beautiful Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia.       Over to Darry … My love of Story and books has always been there and by the time I was capable of physically handling a book, I was already enthralled. Story captivated me: the action, the adventure, the characters, the setting. Good vs evil, and I always loved it best that Good won, of course, at least in Story. That might be why I tend to write Happily For Now, no matter what genre. I love to read and also to write a really good Not So Happily At All, but in this day and age, an uplift is always sought after. As soon as I had pocket money, the book buying began. I’d always had books given to me, as well, and early in life had learned the wonder of libraries. However books came to me, I loved to hold the tomes in my hand. Over the years there were many, many books... read more

Books Spark Joy with Alissa Callen

Even though books are exempt from any rare attempts to de-clutter, I do pass some onto family and friends and also like to support the local little street libraries

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Books Spark Joy with Fiona Macarthur

One of the best things about being a writer is all the lovely writers and readers you get to meet. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Fiona Macarthur. We hit it off immediately and I can’t wait to catch up with her again. In the meantime I’m very happy to welcome her to the Books Spark Joy series. In her compassionate, pacey fiction, Fiona McArthur’s love of the Australian landscape meshes beautifully with warm, multigenerational characters as she highlights challenges for rural and remote families, and the strength shared between women. Happy endings are a must.   Over to Fiona … Thanks for having me, Pamela, ‘cause I had a ball poking through my bookshelves and actually found more books than expected. I’ve been culling for a while now and happily give away a lot. Noted while culling – that some old books can transport me to moments in time. As a pre-teen, zoom back to my dad discussing the latest Modesty Blaise book with me and how much better she was than James Bond. No culling of that collection of stories written by Peter O’Donnell and always, wistfully, as I re-read. And Dick Francis. We both loved those. Pretty sure he’s where my heroes came from. I also suspect Modesty is where my strong, independent women are born, a can’t-kill-her-with-a-stick-woman, yet a woman with practical kindness for others, except the bad guys. Which is why I’ve started to collect the full set of Madeleine Brent women’s fiction P.O’D wrote under that pseudonym (why did I not know this?) and I love discovering each new book. These... read more

Books Spark Joy with Juanita Kees

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Juanita Kees. Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.         Over to Juanita …   Thank you for hosting me today and sharing books that spark joy. Growing up, books and stories were a lifeline in our house. My parents didn’t own a television until the mid to late seventies, and because of heavy sanctions in South Africa, our television programs were limited to mostly local productions anyway. As a result, most nights after dinner, we would listen to the radio, play board games or cards, or read a book. When Christmas time came around, our gifts almost always contained a girl’s annual filled with beautiful pictures, puzzles and stories. Both my parents were avid readers and encouraged our reading habits. Saturday mornings were always ‘library day’ for us and I used to look forward losing myself among the bookshelves. My father was (and still is) a wonderful storyteller. He’d make up campfire and bedtime stories, and some of them he and my uncles even recorded on tape with sound effects. We used to love listening to... read more

Books Spark Joy with Sarah Williams

Welcome to this week’s edition of Books Spark Joy with Sarah Williams. Sarah is the bestselling author of Australian romantic fiction including the successful Brigadier Station series. She spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to Queensland to raise a family and follow her passion for writing. She currently resides in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. When she’s not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs, a horse and a cat. She is CEO of Serenade Publishing, hosts the weekly podcast/vlog Write with Love, runs writers workshops and retreats, mentors and supports her peers to achieve their publishing dreams.     Over to Sarah … My mother was a teacher, so she knew the value of reading to kids. Every night my brother and I would snuggle in and listen as she read us story after story. As I grew up my interest in books wanned as I found other hobbies. However I clearly remember the moment my life changed. I was fourteen and my family were attending a party at my aunts house. I stumbled across a pile of books in her garage and spotted a worn paperback with a pioneering couple in a dramatic pose. The blurb of “This Calder Range” by Janet Dailey promised romance, suspense, cowboys and indians. Everything 14 year old me could possibly want. My aunt let me have the book – she’d obviously forgotten how steamy parts of it were. While... read more

Books Spark Joy with Sandie Docker

My guest on the Books Spark Joy blog this week is  Australian Women’s Fiction author Sandie Docker. Sandie  grew up in Coffs Harbour, and first fell in love with reading when her father introduced her to fantasy books as a teenager. Writing about love, loss, family and small country towns, her debut novel, The Kookaburra Creek Café, was released in April 2018, The Cottage At Rosella Cove was released Jan 8th, 2019 and her third novel The Banksia Bay Beach Shack is scheduled for release in March 2020.     Over to Sandie … Unlike most writers, I didn’t start life with a love of books. I actually hated reading as a child and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to sit and bury their faces in some musty old pages. But one day in my late teens, my dad, a voracious reader, put a copy of Pawn Of Prophecy, a fantasy novel by David Eddings, in my hand and told me to ‘just give it a go’. Reluctantly I did. And my life forever changed. I was transported mind, body and soul into another world, the characters felt so real to me that I thought of them as friends, and to this day, nearly thirty years later, I can picture the opening scene and conjure images from that story in my mind with vivid clarity.     Eventually I moved on from fantasy and found my reading (and now writing) home in women’s fiction. But the same feelings apply – being swept away by a story and its characters is one of life’s great gifts. An escape from... read more

My Top Five Reads For 2019 (So Far)

Bridge Of Clay by Markus Zusak   Like many others I couldn’t wait to read this 13-years-in-the-making tome from The Book Thief author Markus Zusak. I had the pleasure of hearing Markus talk about the novel as far back at last July at the launch of Storyfest and was even more excited to devour it after he read an excerpt on the night. Long awaited books, like any  highly anticipated life event, can often be a let-down, never reaching the heights of the expectation and hype. To be totally honest for the first part of the book I struggled and I was worried this was the case with Bridge Of Clay. And for a very strange reason: it felt too perfect. I couldn’t connect with the characters or the emotions. But something magical happened about one third of the way in – I fell in love, with Penny Dunbar, with Achilles the mule, with the fractious Dunbar boys and with the beautifully woven words that seemed to take flight once the opening section of the novel was out of the way. The writing and the story capture a family trying to come to terms with death and working out how to live in the face of it. When I considered my response I remembered having the same response to The Book Thief – I started it and put it down a number of times before getting into it and absolutely loving it. Maybe this is the case with all deeply emotional stories: we have to come to grips with a subject matter so deep, told in such a heartfelt... read more

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