Horse Rescue: Inspiring Stories, published 27 August, 2014

cover high resHorses are powerful beyond their physical measures. Through their unique bond to people, horses have the ability to heal, teach, and change lives. A person might rescue a horse, but so often it ends up being the other way around. And sometimes the deepest transformations come when we least expect them.

Meet Sue Spence, who rescued little Larry, a pony that helped her through the stages of breast cancer. There’s Rebel Morrow, whose journey to the Athens Olympics with her rescued horse, Groover, is nothing short of miraculous. And there’s Michael Williams, in and out of prison for twelve years and finally seeing some light through the Horses for Hope program.

These and a dozen other rescuers celebrate the special bonds they’ve formed, and share what they have learned from their amazing equine companions.

‘What brings me joy are the inspiring, goose-bumping, enlightening rescue stories of exhilarating triumph, quiet meditative wisdom, life-changing moments and powerful self-healing.’

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Horse Rescue Book Coming Soon

I’m very excited to announce that my first non-fiction book for Penguin Australia is Horse Rescue: inspiring stories of second chance horses and the lives they changed has been officially signed off and sent to print!

The book is due for release on 27 August 2014. I wish I could show you the cover but I don’t have a final version yet, but the draft version is GORGEOUS and I can’t wait to share it with you. In the meantime, here’s a few pics to keep you going.

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Publishing with Penguin Books Australia

Publishing with Penguin Books Australia

I am proud to announce that I have a contract with Penguin Books Australia for a non-fiction book, Horse Rescue Stories.

I have been working on the book for most of this year and have been travelling around the country and interviewing, photographing and meeting some wonderful people who have rescued a horse. The focus of the book, a topic close to my heart, is the way in which a rescued horse changes the person’s life, just as much as the person changes the horse’s life.

I am so very proud to be working on this book, a project I didn’t go looking for but that came to me in one of those fantastically serendipitous ways, and am really looking forward to bringing these stories to you. Stay tuned for updates!

Dipping a toe into NaNoWriMo

I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but I wrote today, jumped on into the completely hidden waters of my new novel. Why? Simply because it’s NaNoWriMo time, that time of year that sends writers into a frenzy with the challenge of writing an entire novel during the month of November. I’ve never completed NaNoWriMo before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever started. And I am a day late if I am going to do it this year.

It’s a completely ridiculous time to try to write an entire novel, with a new babe and trying to sell/rent/buy/move/relocate houses. Every day is just a smidge under completely hysterical in our house.

But maybe that’s the point? Maybe that’s exactly the time I should be jumping into the pool to cool off from the high pressure heat of elsewhere?

I was encouraged by Kim Wilkins’ recent post on keeping going even while things are super hard. And I love her fun yet practical idea of picking numbered boxes to motivate the day’s word count.

Today, I clocked up 1909 words. Not bad considering I haven’t actually plotted out my book yet and I just banged them out while the baby was asleep. I’ve no idea where I’m going next but I guess I’ll just have to turn up each day and find out.

Swimming in the dark? Sure… nothing bad ever happens when you do that 😉

It’s all in the name of research

My lovely sister and me. The chocolate doctors are in!

I love research. And when it’s about food, even better.

Living the writer’s dream for me is about delving into subjects I’m interested in and absorbing a mass of information and, preferably, sensory experience. And it really doesn’t get any better than researching one of the greatest things on earth: chocolate.

Chilli ganache chocolate sandwiches

Chocolate features heavily in my next book and this weekend just gone my lovely (and exceptionally talented) sister and I headed into Brisbane for an afternoon of making chocolates and ganaches by hand. I have to say, though, that they worked us extremely hard. Amanda and I thought we might have a fun afternoon indulging in chocolate. Not so much. More like five hours on our feet, with no breaks, no chairs and (gasp!!!) no coffee!!! I felt like a galley slave.

But I am really glad I went. I learnt many a savvy chocolate making skill for my main

Belgium chocolate ganaches

character to use in her story. And during the two-and-a-half hour drive home I came up with my top line novel plot.

Not a bad day’s work. Not bad at all.

Me and Monica

Me and Monica

Are you a Monica McInerney fan? If not yet, you need to be! Seriously. I had the immense pleasure of meeting one of my women’s fiction literary heroes last weekend at Mary Ryan’s in Noosa, when Monica dropped in as part of her current book tour to promote her new book, The House of Memories.

I first stumbled across Monica’s writing when I picked up an audio book at my local library. That book was her first novel, A Taste for It, and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. So far, my favourites have been At Home with the Templetons and Those Faraday Girls, both terrific (and large!) reads. Call me miserly but I do love some good value out of a book 😉

I have The House of Memories on standby for the moment while I finish my current book — I am an appallingly slow reader, not the best asset for a reader and writer, but I like to think I indulge in quality, not quantity and that’s why I know without a shadow of a doubt that Monica’s new book will be well worth waiting for.

Monica is still touring around Australia and if you’d like to catch up with her, visit her website for tour details. Oh, and did I mention how delightful and sweet she is? And funny? And a great speaker?

Do yourself a favour… go visit Monica and grab a copy of The House of Memories. Now. Do not pass go. Do not delay!

Anna Campbell Workshop: Seven Hours in an Author’s Head

(Okay, so it was six hours but I’ve worked on that title for almost a week now so I’m taking my literary license and running with it.)

Last weekend, I had the immense pleasure of attending Anna Campbell‘s romance writing workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre. Now, you may remember that I was hysterically sleep deprived, and within minutes of my arrival I managed to lose the critique that Anna had done on my first ten pages of Take a Chance on Me, lose my sunglasses, fail to master the hot water tap for a cup of coffee, fail to find the sugar that was sitting in a jar right in front of me, and probably unnerve the gentle QWC volunteer who greeted me when my baby brain refused to allow words to move from my brain to my mouth and so moved my jaw noiselessly up and down while making some sort of fish noises in reply.

So that was me.

Now for Anna.

Anna so kindly said to me, ‘oh I don’t know why you’re here really, your story is wonderful’. I smiled and nodded my thanks, but I knew that (a) my story needed help and you never stop learning and why wouldn’t I learn from a master of the craft, and (b) I was a total mess (refer to previous paragraph) and needed some professional therapy to get my head back on track.

And learn I did. Yes, romance writing contains pretty much the same structural elements as any good story, but there were at least two huge lightbulb moments in that workshop for me that had me gagging on my coffee and thinking, ‘oh golly, I have a bit of work to do’. And one of those lightbulb moments was on the importance of the first kiss. My characters have rushed right over that little gem and I’m going to go back and ask them to indulge the reader.

Almost as wonderful as Anna’s workshop was the PILE of free books I came home with!! And… we got free chocolate as well!! Come on. I would have gone just for those two things alone 🙂

Anna’s latest book, Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, is now available and I can’t wait to get my hands on that steamy little number.

Thanks Anna for a wonderful day.