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...
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...
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...