My Top Five Reads For 2019 (So Far)

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...

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...
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...

Writers On Reading – A Brand New Blog Series On What Writers Like to Read

I’m starting a whole new blog series where writers will be invited to tell us about their reading habits and influences. And to celebrate the release this week of my new novel  I thought I’d kick off the series by having a crack at the questions myself. Anyone who leaves a comment will go in the draw to win a signed copy of Essie’s Way. Here’s a sneak peek:  A captivating story of family, love and following your heart, from the author of Blackwattle Lake. In the distance the sea and sky merged into an opaque sheet of black, the only light shed by a sliver of moon. A crack of lightning split the darkness, illuminating the cauldron that was the ocean for just a few moments. She tilted her chin up and stretched forward, straining to see. Something was out there. Miranda McIntyre thinks she has it all sorted. She s a successful lawyer, she s planning her wedding and ticking off all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood, but her mother denies any knowledge of it. Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find the necklace, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive. Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself. Ultimately, she will find that looking back can lead...

Riding The Waves – My Wrap Up of RWA’s 2013 Conference

I’ve just returned from a weekend of workshopping, champagne sipping and chatting at the Romance Writers of Australia 2013 Conference in Fremantle, WA. I’d love to tell you that I managed to see even a little bit of Fremantle but the truth is I saw about one block either side of the hotel. But of course that wasn’t what I was there for. I was there to learn and meet fellow writers which is exactly what I did.       Being a newbie I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And being a writer with romantic elements in my fiction rather than full-blooded Romance I wasn’t even sure I should be even attending. But any reservations I had soon vanished. I attended with the lovely Monique McDonell starting with a welcome cocktail party thrown by Destiny Romance and continued on Friday night with the Nautical or Nice themed event sponsored by Harlequin Australia. Pirates, sea witches and sailors (along with many other nautical themes) crowded the room and the champagne flowed.         Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed each morning and attend the wonderful workshops and sessions. Friday’s was a day long workshop with Kim Hudson, author of The Virgin’s Promise, who guided us through the structures and archetypes that can be borrowed from mythology to help structure stories about women’s journeys. I also attended some great sessions by Nina Bruhns, Sarah Wendell, Alison Stuart and Laura Bradford, to name a few. Being a new author I found the published authors round table session extremely helpful – learning the ins and...