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...
Romance Author Susanne Bellamy on What – And Who – Inspires Her To Write

Romance Author Susanne Bellamy on What – And Who – Inspires Her To Write

Today I welcome Romance author Susanne Bellamy to Flying Pony. Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters. One Night in Sorrento almost wrote itself after her travels in Italy, and her rural romance, Second Chance Love, was inspired by a stint teaching in far north-west Queensland.     Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia, with their dog.    When Claire Swenson inherits her great-aunt’s home and returns to Bindarra Creek as town librarian, Angus McGregor is the first person she meets.    The second is his eleven-year old son. Just because Angus wants a second chance doesn’t mean that Claire will put aside her determination not to commit to a relationship.   No matter how sexy he is, or how well they work together as they fight for the community and to save Angus’ property.   Can he convince Claire that love is sweeter the second time around? *   What – or who – first inspired you to write? My husband was away on one of his trips to Nepal. We’d been chatting about how cold it was, and I was missing him and wondering how to fill my evenings when a kernel of a story idea insinuated...
10 Things I Learned About Writing From My Third Novel: #2 Talking It Out Helps

10 Things I Learned About Writing From My Third Novel: #2 Talking It Out Helps

The thing about writing is that it’s a very solitary process. You sit down and pour the ideas from your head onto the page without anyone filtering them or commenting, at least in the first draft stage. And that’s how it should be. You need that alone time to create your characters, build your story and bring your vision to life. But one thing I learned this time around is that talking it out can actually help. Many of us are very secretive about our ideas and our writing. Sometimes that’s because we need the time to work things out for ourselves but often it’s because we fear judgement. What if I tell someone my idea and they think it sucks? What if they walk away and laugh at me behind my back? What if I realise how lame my story is when I actually try to explain it to someone? And yes, all those fears are absolutely valid. That’s why, if you do decide to speak up and talk your ideas through, it should be with someone you trust. A writing buddy is the perfect choice. I brainstormed ideas for Close To Home with my awesome writing group which helped me throw some plot points out the window and develop others. They’re the people who are most likely to tell you openly and honestly what will work and what won’t. And that’s a good thing. Another great sounding board might be an ‘ideal reader’. This could be a friend you trust or someone you know who reads and appreciates your writing. This person will be looking at it...
Writing Inspirations – Who, What and Where Inspires Me To Write

Writing Inspirations – Who, What and Where Inspires Me To Write

Now that I’ve finished my edits on Close to Home I’m excited to be focusing back on my blog and plan to post a few times each week. Fridays are going to be all about Inspirations – the people, places and things that inspire me to write. I’ll also be inviting a number of other writers on to the blog to tell us about their inspirations so I hope you’ll visit each Friday and I hope you’ll be inspired.   To kick off this series I’ve done an interview with myself, so here goes …    1. What – or who – first inspired you to write? I can’t exactly remember what first inspired me to write back when I was a teenager scribbling down poems and writing in diaries. I guess it was about finding an outlet for all that teenage angst. When I travelled extensively in my twenties I wrote journals about the places I visited and the people I met, following this up with a correspondence course in Travel Journalism that I never did anything with. After teaching for about 15 years I decided I wanted to write creatively rather than put red marks on student essays and so I enrolled in a Masters Of Creative Writing and haven’t stopped writing since. One of my first inspirations in terms of place was Nepal, which i wrote about in my previous post. The book that first gave me the ‘I want to write like this’ thought was The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. I loved the way he switched times and characters so seamlessly and weaved the stories...
Filling the Well: This Week’s Inspirations

Filling the Well: This Week’s Inspirations

It’s been a while since my last series of posts, mainly because I’ve been wallowing in the slump I generally find myself in once I do the final revisions on a novel. But I’m starting to drag myself out of my post Close To Home swamp and back into the real world. Where it’s time to start thinking about what’s next Unfortunately I’m not one of those writers who has a zillion ideas and not enough time to write them all. Ideas, for me, tend to brew slowly, simmering away on the back burner of my subconscious until I decide to turn up the heat and start cooking. To continue with the kitchen metaphor I generally don’t throw together a banquet but concentrate on one dish at a time, channelling all my energies into coming up with the right ingredients and concocting a memorable experience for the reader. That’s not to say that writers who work on more than one novel at a time, or one idea at a time, aren’t able to serve up an entire menu of quality reads – I know many that can and I envy their wizard like abilities. Sadly though, that’s not my creative style. So when one story comes to an end and the proof pages are emailed off to my editor I’m usually at a point (like now) where I have a notion of what I want to write next but not the entire plot. I’m a pantser, someone who writes without knowing where the story is heading and works it out along the way. Sometimes that means I get stumped...

A Year of Writing Coming Up In 2015

Hopefully you managed to catch my last post about the writing year that was 2014. If not you can read it here. In summary, although I managed to complete a novel it was a bumpy process and one I hope to improve on in the year ahead. So here’s what’s coming up for me in 2015 … Starting Monday I’ll be doing the copyedit on my new novel Close To Home. As always, the final stages of a book are a crazy cocktail of attention to detail, nerves, excitement and relief. I’ve had a few trusted readers give me feedback and will definitely be doing some tweaking on this next edit but hopefully the process won’t be too onerous. By the end of January the novel should be visiting the editor for the last time before heading off to the printer. It won’t be released until July but advanced reader copies will be sent to booksellers and distributors for a sneak peek in the next few months. I’m absolutely in love with the cover Hachette have come up with and will be revealing it here soon! In previous years I’ve taken the turning of the final page of the proof read as an opportunity to put my feet up and bask in the glory of having finished a novel. But this time things will be different. Really, they will! I’ve already started nutting out ideas for my next book and once Close To Home is gone I’ll be starting a new manuscript. Unlike my last three novels I’m going to attempt to do a little more planning – but...