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

5 Things You May Not Know About Book Publishing

For most people the only thing they need to know about the book publishing industry is when their favourite author is releasing their next book. Sometimes they have other questions. Since the release of my first book I’ve been asked by both readers and other writers about how the publishing industry works and what happens once your book is out there in the big, wide world. I’ve narrowed this down to 5 things you may not know so here they are in random order. 1. Writing Is Only Part The Job It’s now 8 months since The Crossroads was released. Hard to believe all that time has passed! Although it still feels like last month to me, 8 months is quite a long time in the publishing industry. In any given year around 20,000 book titles are published in Australia so in industry terms many, many books have filled the shelves since my most recent publication. So for an author, the period of time they spend under their publisher’s spotlight is necessarily brief. That’s why most authors today, certainly writers of commercial fiction, spend time on their Facebooks, Twitter and Instagram accounts and other social media platforms. Traditional publishers expect their authors to actively market their books and for Indie (self published) authors the time spent on marketing is even greater. It’s how we try to find new readers, remind our loyal readers we’re still around and stay connected to our audience.   2. Authors Only Get One Piece Of The Pie Whether you’re traditionally or self published, you are paid a percentage of the profits from your book... read more

A Little Romance: Writing A Novel With Romantic Elements

As my readers know, all my novels feature a little bit of romance. Not a lot, but a little. In the publishing world this is known as ‘romantic elements’. So, since today is Valentine’s Day I thought I’d tell you why I include these elements in my stories, and why I go for a little bit or romance rather than a lot. Conflict My main characters are always conflicted. In all four of my published novels the main characters are women who are dealing with quite a bit of family drama. Some of them have issues from the past surfacing and all of them have present day conflicts that take up most of their time. Untangling their personal problems is, for me, the main point of the story. Whether that be dealing with grief, uncovering a family mystery, learning to forgive in order to move on or making a life-changing decision, all ‘my women’ have enough to keep them busy. Tension So, of course, that’s where the romance comes in: when they’re not looking, love creeps up on them. There’s no better way to complicate a character’s story than by adding a romance into the mix. Whether it’s the man of her dreams, an ‘unwanted’ former lover or someone who makes her heart sing even if she’s in denial, its absolutely guaranteed that the protagonist’s life is going to get a lot tougher. The Crossroads has three very different ‘romantic’ set ups for its three main characters. For Rose it’s the appearance of old flame David Ryan that complicates her story right from the start. Her daughter, Stephanie is... read more

The Men Of The Crossroads: Sweet, Silent And Sexy

Last week I introduced you to the three female protagonists of The Crossroads – this week it’s the men’s turn. While they aren’t as prominent in the storyline they are crucial to the plot. And where would a Rural romance be without the love interests?  Sweet – Dave When David Ryan walks into The Crossroads Hotel, Rosemary O’Shea’s jaw drops. It’s been over thirty years since she last saw him and his arrival is definitely not a welcome one. Recently widowed, Dave has returned to Birralong to house-sit but has a yearning to make his stay more permanent. Reliable, down to earth and genuinely happy to see his old friend Rose, he is completely oblivious to the unease she feels at their meeting. There are more than a few surprises in store as Rose and Dave get to know each other again Silent – Bryce Life on the land has never been tougher for Bryce Bailey and his wife Stephanie. The drought has forced them to sell off most of their cattle and the stock that remain are getting thinner by the day. Desperate to live up to the legacy left to him by his father, Bryce has become withdrawn and sullen. Stephanie is at her wit’s end and misses the fun, romantic guy she fell in love with as a teenager. To make things worse Bryce’s estranged brother Cameron has just arrived back in town with a proposition about the property he still partly owns. How will Bryce react to his brother’s plans and what will Stephanie do to try and get him to see sense?   Sexy... read more

Seeing With Fresh Eyes – Using Equine Therapy In Writing And Life

Equine Therapy is the practice of using horses as sources of healing. You may have seen on the news recently that horses are being used to help flood victims deal with their trauma. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a workshop called Seeing With Fresh Eyes run by the lovely people at Horsanity. I’ll have more photos from the day posted soon but I wanted to write about it while it was still fresh in my mind. This was a clinic based on  the principles of equine assisted therapy. Now that The Crossroads is out in the big, wide world I’m working on a new novel and I attended the clinic for research purposes. In the yet-to-be-named story my skeptical main character, desperate to help her grieving foster daughter, takes her to a neighbouring horse property only to find that spending time with the horses helps her deal with her own unresolved issues. While I certainly didn’t go along to the workshop with any level of skepticism – I’d read up on the topic and have been around horses long enough to know how therapeutic they can be – I did end up getting more out of the day on a personal level than I did for my research. It’s hard to put into words what I experienced at the workshop, but since I’m a writer I’d better give it a try … The day started with members of the small group introducing themselves and saying what we were hoping to get from the day. We’d been sent a series of questions to ponder... read more

Strong Women – In Reality And Fiction

This week I’ve been inspired by women standing up for themselves and for others in the face of what seems to be a bad B grade movie. Scenes of women marching in cities all over the world flooded the internet (see pics here) after Trump’s inauguration along with a myriad of articles, posts, tweets and images promoting sisterhood and unity. Influential women around the world have addressed the issue in person and in print. In Washington Gloria Steinhem applauded those who protested and urged women to follow their instincts. And in Sydney, writer Jane Caro urged marchers to ‘keep fighting’. On almost every continent women banded together to express their outrage and unity. In recent times the word feminism has been much maligned. Like every political or social movement there are certainly extreme versions of it, but historically it’s been the more extreme individuals among us who have most successfully effected change. And let’s face it, where would we all be today if the suffragettes hadn’t stood up for their rights and votes, or if no bras had been burnt in the 60’s? Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the word or the idea. Surely feminism is all about championing women’s rights and I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with that. Women standing up for themselves is one of the main themes in my writing, and while I might only write commercial fiction and my books aren’t going to change the world, I’d like to think that the strength of my female characters is one the main features of my writing … In Blackwattle Lake, Eve... read more

Meet The Remarkable Women Of The Crossroads

I’m a great believer in creating strong female characters. Not the kick-ass action hero kind but women who stand up for themselves and what they believe in. They may not all start out as emotional warriors but by the end of the story they have developed new strengths as a result of their experiences. The Crossroads has three protagonists so I had the challenge of making them different from each other in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, and having each of them overcome their particular flaws in order to come together as a family. Rosie O’Shea is the eldest of the women. She is the solo owner of The Crossroads Hotel, carrying on the mantle passed to her by her late husband Mick, one that is increasingly becoming both a financial and personal burden. Rosie is the kind of woman you can rely on – tough as nails on the outside but buttery soft underneath – and once she makes a promise she’s determined to keep it, even if it’s to her own detriment. Rose hasn’t been in a romantic relationship since Mick died five years ago but when David Ryan walks into the hotel it dredges up a whole lot of memories for her – ones that she had long since buried.     Stephanie Bailey, is Rose’s daughter and along with her husband Bryce runs an enormous cattle station that has been seriously affected by the drought. Stephanie faces challenges of a different kind to her mother. She too is more than capable but is feeling more and more constrained by her husband’s chauvinistic attitude. Dealing... read more

Everyone’s A Winner: My Day At The Books By The Bridge Author Event

Have you ever been to a mass book signing? I’m guessing for most people reading this the answer would be no. It was for me, until last Saturday when I was an attending author at Books By The Bridge. Organised by the amazing Kat Massen, booklover extraordinaire, it was a totally virginal experience for me – and one I would be happy to repeat 🙂       The Event The event was held at the Crystal Palace in Sydney’s Luna Park. I hadn’t been to the theme park since I was a kid. When I walked in and spotted The Rotor my stomach started churning just thinking about the last time I rode it (I won’t go into details but it involved a lot of spinning followed by a lot of vomiting). My nausea disappeared when I rounded the corner and saw a queue of people waiting at the doors to the event, standing beside suitcases. And do you know what those suitcases were for? Books. People had brought massive suitcases to fill with books they planned to buy. I couldn’t believe it! I’d never seen such a passion for books. Readers came from all over the country to attend Books by The Bridge and a couple of people even travelled from overseas.           And it only got better.   The Readers Some of the attending readers had compiled souvenir coffee table books with photos of the covers from each author’s books and came around to each table to get them signed. The time, effort and cost that had gone into these projects blew... read more

Characters of The Crossroads Part 3: Family, Friends and Pigs!

This is the final post in my ‘characters of The Crossroads’ blog series. Last week you met the men and the week before, my three main characters, Rose, Stephanie and Faith. All good stories have a great support cast and The Crossroads is no exception. Rose, Stephanie and Faith all need a little help from their friends and family so I thought I’d introduce you to a few of the characters who help them along the way. Rose Since the death of her husband, Mick, and the loss of her parents Rose has been pretty much on her own – apart from daughter, Stephanie. There is her mother-in-law, Letty, but there’s no love lost between the two and Rose’s weekly visits to Letty are more than torture. Thankfully Rose does have Cleo. They’ve been friends for years and despite her own share of problems Cleo is always there for Rose, and vice versa. She lives with her son and ailing father on a remote property – along with a collection of four legged friends for extra company. There’s Tiddles (Cleo’s pet pig), Bob (a cheeky Shetland) and Suzie Q (her faithful old mare). Tiddles is ‘based on’ a real pig I met on my visit to Queensland and Bob is our very own Shetland.     Stephanie Rose and Letty are pretty much all Stephanie has in the way of extended family but she does have a soft spot for her brother-in-law Cameron, despite his estrangement from her husband. This makes for some tricky situations when Cam returns to Birralong. Steph’s bestie is Holly. The two of them have... read more

Book Launch Celebration For The Crossroads

The Crossroads arrived on bookstore shelves yesterday but the party started two days earlier when we officially launched the book at The Coal Coast Emporium. My last launch was for Close To Home was 18 months ago and so much has happened since then that it felt fitting to celebrate once more. Each book is its own entity and there’s never a guarantee that there will be another one so it was great to share the excitement with family and friends as my fourth book baby readied itself to arrive in the world. This time I decided to do a local launch. It’s been twelve months since we moved into the Illawarra area, south of Sydney, and I’ve developed a great relationship with the owners of the bookstore where I teach writing classes. It was lovely to see familiar faces popping in to join the festivities.   My gorgeous publicist, Laura Boon,  from Hachette did the introductions and – in the absence of a formally written one – I managed an off-the-cuff speech and only cried once. Not that I’d intended crying at all, but despite my resolve, emotions were running a little high. I can’t tell you how humbled I was to have so many people there and how grateful I am to all those who bought books on the day.   Loads of pics were taken and I’ll be adding a slideshow to my Facebook page. There was plenty of partying afterwards and quite a few champagne corks popped. I’ll never get over the buzz of having one of my books out there and I hope readers... read more

Archives

Please Subscribe To My Newsletter

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from me.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!