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...
Kath, This One’s For You

Kath, This One’s For You

Today is going to be tough. It’s the day I say farewell to my best friend. We met in high school – first form, as it was called in those days -and have been friends ever since. We travelled the world together, were bridesmaids for each other, raised our kids, laughed, cried and probably drank too many wines. The other thing we did together was see Elton John just about every time he came to Australia. Each time a concert was announced we’d call each other: ‘What do you think?’ ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ Elty, as we affectionately called him was like our old childhood friend and we couldn’t NOT go. I was supposed to go and see him last weekend in the Hunter Valley but this time she was in a nursing home, by now in the final stages of the hideous MND she was diagnosed with just 18 months ago. My husband bought the tickets and planned a special weekend away but somehow it didn’t feel right going without Kathie. I didn’t make the Hunter Valley gig. She left us on Friday night and I just wasn’t up to seeing Elty. I’ll be seeing him next weekend with my daughter – his final concert at the Sydney Entertainment centre, where I’ve seen him so many times before, and I know someone else will be there in spirit rocking along. Today will be one of the toughest. Forty years is a long time to be friends. Kath, you taught me what friendship really means and you lived your life with joy and courage and love. This one’s for...
A New Setting in Life & Literature

A New Setting in Life & Literature

I’m a big believer in fate and just recently a couple of things happened in my writing and in my life to deepen that belief even further.   I’ll start with the writing …   A few months back I was discussing new novel ideas with my publisher who was keen for me to try a new setting. All three of my books have been set in fictional locations on or near the south-eastern coast of New South Wales. Maybe my publisher was right? Maybe it was time for a change? She suggested something well away from the coast, something decidedly outback. But as someone who likes to get a good feel for a place before I use it as a setting this idea was problematic – I haven’t been anywhere remotely outback recently and had no ideas for any suitable storylines.   And this is where the fate part comes in.   A few weeks later, when I’d already started on a novel with no definite location in mind, I received an email from a lovely librarian in Hughenden (central Queensland) inviting me to visit and speak at a dinner as part of their drought relief community program. I googled the town and found images of red earth, dusty roads and plenty of windmills. A little more research and I discovered the area is badly affected by drought – farmers are destocking, businesses closing and locals are having a very hard time of it. Perhaps there was some material here for a new story?     Another week or so later I woke up in the middle of...
Inspirations: Women’s Fiction Author Monique McDonell Talks About Who And What Inspires Her Writing

Inspirations: Women’s Fiction Author Monique McDonell Talks About Who And What Inspires Her Writing

This week on the blog I welcome the lovely Monique McDonell, my long time writing partner and a prolific author of contemporary women’s fiction. Monique has written five stand-alone romantic comedies and three books in the Upper Crust Series: Any Way You Slice It, Any Way You Dream It and Any Way You Fight It, her most recent release.     Any Way You Fight It Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates. After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy). Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past...
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...
Writing Inspirations: Who and What Inspires Rural Romance Author Jennie Jones

Writing Inspirations: Who and What Inspires Rural Romance Author Jennie Jones

This week on Writing Inspirations I welcome the lovely Jennie Jones. Jennie and I met a couple of years ago at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference and share a love of writing, good wine and horses.     Jennie writes Rural Romance and her latest novel, The House At the End Of The Street (released August 1st) is rocketing up the book charts.       Bestselling Jennie Jones takes us back to Swallow’s Fall: Gemma has a burning need to stay and make a home. All Josh has ever wanted is to get out. Now he has the chance, and all he needs to do is tie up a few loose ends…  Gemma Munroe loves hard, laughs hard and plays hard. Or at least she did before today. Her dream is finally within her grasp – owning the toy shop in Swallow’s Fall and establishing herself permanently. Only one person has the power to get in her way: Josh Rutherford – the love of her life who kissed her and left her ten years ago is coming home. Josh will be in town for only five days. He’ll finally sever the ties to a youth filled with poverty by selling the properties that are now his. He’s returning healthy, wealthy and emotionally stable, and then he’ll leave forever. It’s all in the plan. Except for Gem. He never forgot her, but he definitely forgot the effect she has on him. Now she’s got problems, and he can’t seem to leave without trying to help her solve them. The town itself has its own plans: Gemma and Josh...