My Top Five Spring Reads

So many books and so little time! A cliché but definitely the apt for me right now. With an ever growing book pile and dividing my time between writing, Writes4Women and Storyfest, not to mention family time and horse riding, I hardly seem to be making a dent in my TBR tower. I have managed to sneak some time for reading though, and here are my recommendations for Spring reading, in no particular order. And if you click on the links on the bottom of the post you’ll find more reviews from my writing buddies, The Writers’ Dozen. There’s something for everyone!   Lost Without You – Rachael Johns I was lucky enough to read Rachael’s latest novel prior to its release and after just a few pages became totally immersed. The storyline centres around a wedding dress that connects the main characters, Rebecca, Paige, Josie and Clara. Covering a range of family and social issues, the plot unravels the knots binding these characters together and delves into both the positive and negative aspects of the choices they make. While some of the consequences do not lead to a happy place, each thread is well resolved and the story ultimately has a hopeful ending. I thoroughly enjoyed Lost Without You, a great addition to Rachael’s collection of contemporary women’s fiction.   The Single Ladies Of the Jacaranda Retirement Village – Joanna Nell This title of this book pretty much sums up the story: single women dealing with the ups and downs of life in their twilight years. It centers around the two lead characters Pat and Angie, who are...
My Top 5 Winter Reads

My Top 5 Winter Reads

There’s nothing like curling up in front of a crackling fire with a great book and whiling away a few hours. I’d love to say that’s what I’ve been doing but sadly the fireplace installation has stalled so I’ve been reading in front of my gas heater – not quite as cosy but still a great way to relax. In no particular order are my five favourite books from the last few months. Find out what the other member’s of my writing group The Writers’ Dozen have been reading. Between us all we have your next few months of reading covered!   The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland I picked up this book because of the divine cover and then I read the opening sentence: ‘In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.’ And then there were the beautiful sketches of the wildflowers sprinkled throughout the book. How could I not buy it? Superb writing, a wonderful protagonist who we follow from childhood into her adult years and a story to tug at your heart-strings. What’s not to love?       Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes I’m dipping back into this amazing tome about the wild spirit we women innately possess and how easily it can be lost through socialization, relationships and life in general. Estes uses Jungian psychology to break down myths and fairytales, analyzing the way women can be forced into unhappy situations and also...
Heading In A New Writing Direction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Heading In A New Writing Direction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

  I’m super excited – and a little nervous – to tell you about my new writing direction as I step into the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.     As those who follow me on social media will know I’ve recently finished the final draft of my new novel, Cross My Heart and sent it off to my agent. I’ve kept fairly quiet about this one as I’ve been writing it but now that it’s finished it’s time to share more about the book and where I hope it will take me in terms of my writing.   My first four novels have all have a thread of romance running through them – in the publishing industry this is known as romantic elements – and have been branded Rural Romance. Readers will know how ever that the main storyline in all of these novels revolves around a dilemma facing the female protagonist, usually to do with family. In Blackwattle Lake Eve had to deal with returning to a home she’d left acrimoniously twenty years before. In Essie’s Way, Miranda was searching for the grandmother she’d always believed to be dead while Essie was a recluse, hiding away from an unkind world. Charlie, the vet in in Close to Home was dealing with both the potentially deadly hendra virus and her own messed up family relationships. And in The Crossroads, Rose, Stephanie and faith all had their own personal dramas as well as the family issue that brought them together. The romantic elements in all four novels varied but never overshadowed the heroine’s individual story. While there was this...
My Top 5 Reads So Far For 2018

My Top 5 Reads So Far For 2018

Welcome to The Writers’ Dozen Top 5 Reads Blog Hop. I’ve been a member of this fabulous writing group for 14 years. We’re an eclectic bunch of writers penning novels across a diverse range of genres including crime, women’s fiction, rural romance, romantic comedy, chic lit, historical fiction, literary fiction and short stories. This year we’ve decided to join forces and do some blog hops so readers can see what we’re all about, starting with our Top 5 Reads (so far) for 2018. You can see my selections in this post and then click on the links to see what my writing buddies have been reading. We’d love to hear about what books you’ve been enjoying so don’t forget to leave your comments and recommendations.   Happy Reading!    We’re not far into the year but I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading in between revisions for my new book, Cross My Heart. So here in no particular order are my latest faves.   The Emotional Craft Of Fiction by Donald Maass     Starting with a writing book because that’s where my head’s at right now. I’m a huge fan of Donald Maass and always refer to his how-to books when I’m in the revision stage. A literary agent turned writing guru he has great advice for commercial fiction authors who want to write page-turners. And don’t we all? This latest one is all about creating an emotional connection for your reader which will, in turn, get them hooked. Perfect for me right now as this is the goal for my current manuscript. Maass provides detailed theory, examples...
Revise To Publish Masterclass Applications Now Open (April 20-22 2018)

Revise To Publish Masterclass Applications Now Open (April 20-22 2018)

I’m super excited to announce the date and venue for my 2018 Writing Retreat. Applications are now being taken for the Revise To Publish At Russley Masterclass being held at the beautiful Russley Rural Retreat in Segenhoe, NSW, from Friday April 20 to Sunday April 22nd.   Treat yourself to a very special weekend at Russell Rural Retreat near scone, NSW. Spend the weekend with fellow writers learning how to polish and revise your manuscript to make it publication worthy. In this intensive workshopping weekend Pamela will share what she’s learned about getting your novel up to scratch, attracting the attention of agents and publishers and submitting a manuscript you can be truly proud of.         Places are strictly limited (maximum of 9) and open only to those who have completed a full first draft of their manuscript. The emphasis during the workshop will be on revising your work to give it the best chance of being snapped up by a publisher. The Masterclass will be a condensed, updated version of the Tell Me A Story retreat Pamela ran in Fiji in 2017.   Here’s everything you need to know: What:     Masterclass When: Friday April 20 (4pm Meet and Greet) to Sunday April 22 (4pm finish) Where: Russley Rural Retreat (242 Segenhoe Road, Segenhoe, New South Wales) Who: This Masterclass is for authors who have completed at least one  draft of their novel and are aiming for publication.   Your Tutor Pamela is a multi published author of commercial fiction, has a Masters in Creative Writing and over twenty years of teaching experience. Her teaching positions...
5 Things You May Not Know About Book Publishing

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

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

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...
A Little Romance: Writing A Novel With Romantic Elements

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...
Strong Women – In Reality And Fiction

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...