Pre-order link now working!

9781925266146

Huge apologies to anyone who tried to pre-order a hard copy of Three Gold Coins via Booktopia. The technical gremlins were undermining our shopping fun.

But the good news is it is now working. Hooray!

So, if you would like to ensure you are one of the first people to get their hands on Three Gold Coins and help an author out at the same time (pre-orders really help our sales rankings) then hurray on over to Booktopia now knowing all is well in the land of computers.

Thank you!

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Three Gold Coins: Three Reasons to Pre-Order Now

‘What a gloriously wonderful read, I loved it.’ Cathy Kelly (on The Tea Chest)

One coin for love, one for marriage, one to return to Rome.

Two days ago, Lara Foxleigh tossed three gold euros into the Trevi Fountain. Now, she is caring for a cranky old man and living in a picturesque villa, half a world away from her home and the concerns of her loving family.

Soon, it seems as if those wishes she made in Rome just might be coming true, and she may even be able to help heal a fifteen-year-old tragedy.

Until Lara’s past threatens to destroy everything she loves…

Three Gold Coins is a masterfully written celebration of food, family, triumph over adversity, and love – a deliciously imperfect life.

 

9781925266146

I am delighted to share that pre-orders are now open for Three Gold Coins. Here are three reasons to pre-order:

  1. The moment the book is available, it will come to your door and into your hands to begin reading.
  2. Pre-orders help authors. When you pre-order, each one is counted towards the sales in the first week of publication, which means the book rises up up the bestseller lists and makes it more visible to others who are looking for a good book to read. So, thank you!
  3. You can order in either paperback or digital formats.

To order a physical book, go to: Booktopia.

To order digital copies, go to:

iBooks

Kindle/Amazon

Thank you for your support and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Write Your Own 8 Word Story

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Four books published but there is something rather special about these eight words This is a GOA billboard at Moorooka showing off my 8-word story. Thank you to Queensland Writers Centre for choosing my wee tale.

Such a fun and fabulous program to get art out onto the street. I remember only too well all the days of sitting in traffic and it would have been such a lovely thing to have little fairy drops of literature to feed my soul along the way.

Want to play along? You still have time to enter your own 8-word story! Just tweet it with the hashtag #8wordstory and tag the Queensland Writers Centre. Or go to https://8wordstory.com to enter online by Friday 24 November.

Movie review: ‘Home Again’

home again

I love Reese Witherspoon, so that was all I needed for me to go and see this movie, plus the trailer promised an experience that was light, fun and funny.

The story:Alice (Witherspoon) is turning forty and has just returned home to her father’s house after separating from her husband, bringing her two girls from New York to Los Angeles, looking for a fresh start. She meets three young men in their early twenties who are struggling to make it in the film industry and they all go home to her house for the night. They are supposed to leave the next day, but once Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen) discovers the men are big fans of her ex-husband (an Oscar-winning film maker, and Alice’s father), she convinces everyone that the young men must stay in the guest house till they get on their feet. Romantic comedy should ensue.

My verdict: I really wanted to love this film. As I said, Reese Witherspoon is wonderful, I love the fact that we have a forty-year-old protagonist, it has a ‘glossy’ magazine style to the visuals, and promised to be a great break from reality.

But here is my essential problem with this film: Alice has two young daughters under ten (I’m guessing). What mother brings home three strange men and allows them to stay at her house, frequently unsupervised, trusting them with her two little girls, and even accepts them getting involved, by taking the kids to school and other events?

I just could not get past the premise of this film. I couldn’t totally relax into the story, constantly wondering if we were going to be let down by one of these men. The trust just wasn’t there. Also, the comedy factor just wasn’t there. Amusing, yes. Laugh out loud, no.

3.5 stars for me.

Time is Time… Or is It?

time is time‘I need more time.’

‘I don’t have time.’

‘If only I could find more time.’

Does this sound familiar?

When speaking to fellow creative types, the thing I hear the most is the lament for the lack of time to devote to our much-loved art form, be it writing novels, painting landscapes, composing songs or quilting. Artists of all varieties need access to resources—technology, paints, textiles and education, for example—and included in that list is possibly the most coveted of all, time.

Until recently, I thought of time as a finite resource, and struggled with a year planner to work out how quickly I could write my next book, and the next one after that, and so on. With my fourth novel in progress right now, and further contract discussions at hand, I am forced to squash my creativity (by definition, nebulous) hard up against deadlines. But how can I possibly know how long it will take me to write a novel before I’ve even started?

The tricky thing for me to estimate, which I am sure is true for many other creatives, is ‘brew’ time. That is, the time I set aside for my creative project to marinate, so that when I later go back to it, I am looking at it with fresh eyes and lively new ideas. That ‘resting time’ for a creative project helps it mature to greater depth and richness. But is there a way to shorten the brew time, still get a pleasing outcome, and potentially increase my productive output?

Yes, I now think so.

In my struggle to understand how to do this, I spoke with author of twenty-seven novels, Dr Kim Wilkins (who also writes under the name Kimberley Freeman), and who coincidentally happened to be writing an academic paper on just this topic, and asked her about finding the balance between allowing a project time to brew and pushing forward towards a deadline.

‘I’m still learning, but I think I know instinctively if I’m procrastinating. There are also things I do to make the brew happen, like going for a walk, or sitting with my notebook and gazing out the window. I find if I keep connected to the project, and make time for it (including time to research, read, and think) it usually comes. I never force it. The writing is awful when you force it.

‘The incubation period is an acknowledged part of creative activity across all fields. It’s like an exercise rest day: it feels like you’re getting nowhere but you actually are. It can’t always be forward motion.

Kim’s idea that she can ‘make the brew happen’ piques my interest. I now realise that I have been thinking of my brew time as a completely passive activity, when maybe I could speed up my process by specifically allocating smaller portions of time to focused and active ‘thinking’ rather than having long lengths of amorphous subconscious brewing where I wait for the messages to swim up from the deep.

Possibly to my own detriment, having long breaks may even slow me down in more ways than I think. In Kim’s forthcoming academic paper, Writing Time: Coleridge, Creativity and Commerce, she says that ‘As in physics, the initial energy required to start motion (in this case, writing) is greater than that required once momentum is achieved. Interruptions force inertia, and that initial energy must be found again and again.’

The lesson I am receiving, then, is that smaller parcels of active time done more frequently will get me further than longer periods of action after lengthy stretches of rest. Possibly too, if I constantly see my manuscript with fresh eyes after extended absences I will simply reinvent the piece (creating more work for myself), rather than digging deep enough into what I already have to bring it to fruition as it is.

Kim also reminds us that time isn’t just time. Yes, there are sixty seconds in a minute but we don’t necessarily perceive it that way. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience of a minute feeling like an hour and vice versa. Perhaps if I engage my thinking time more actively I might even trick myself and my creative flow into believing I have more time than I actually do.

Most of us will have also at some point found our ‘bliss point’ in an activity where we reach a sense of timelessness, or time standing still, or time meaning nothing. At varying points in our life, time shape shifts and bends. I am often reminded of that saying that goes around in the circles of new mothers—the days are long but the years are short.

Maybe the answer to my struggles lie in applying this same level of intense attentiveness to my novel as I did to my new born, where the whole world fell away to just leave he and I together, working it through, getting to know every different type of cry and facial expression, the sound of every breath and feel of skin. Every day was a marathon that lasted a week. And yet he has just turned five and it’s all happened in the blink of an eye.

Time is merely a notion. I now believe that it might just be possible to increase my productive output while simultaneously slowing down my experience to something that serves both my novel and myself just perfectly, perhaps simply by being more present with the time that I have.

Tansy, the story of an ex racehorse

This is Tansy with me moments after winning her at auction at the Gympie sale yards in 2011. I went head-to-head with ‘the dogger’ (slaughter man), who was very keen to win her as Thoroughbreds have a high level of muscle tone and therefore get the doggers more money by weight at slaughter. My husband stood beside me. ‘Again, again,’ he kept saying, his eye firmly on the dogger. There were hundreds of horses there that day; we couldn’t take them all. But she was lucky. She got us; and we got her.

in sale yard with me

Every year, I like to share her story. You can see by Tansy’s face just how defeated she was that day. She was dripping in sweat, having been standing in this yard for many, many hours, with barely a drop of putrid water for relief. We had no idea how long it had been since she’d eaten.

Tansy doesn’t particularly like people but, bless her, she is one of my most well-mannered horses. Her training was good but the racing system broke her.

She is a thin horse because she has now lost all her front top teeth so can’t graze well. She lost her teeth due to neglect. The racing industry is there to make money, not to love and care for horses. If they can get away with not spending some money on dentistry they will do it. Now, I can fatten her up if I hard feed her twice a day but it’s really not good for her gut so we walk a fine line of watching her weight slide down, then up again as I put more hard feed into her, then stabilise, then slide again.

Last year, I thought we’d have to euthanise her. Her off-fore fetlock had ‘blown up’ a couple of times since I’ve had her, but then it blew up and stayed that way and she was terribly lame. X-rays revealed an old fracture–a racing injury for certain, according to the vet. He said she would have been stabled for a while to see if it would come good, then when it didn’t they would have tried to breed from her, and then she would have been discarded to slaughter.

This is the reality of racing. This is the story I saw over and over again as I literally pulled horses out of slaughter yards in my three years running a horse rescue charity.

As it turned out, a cortisone injection helped her fetlock through the worst of the pain and now the joint has fused she is more comfortable.

I don’t blame Tansy for not having a lot of time for people. People clearly let her down over and over again.

She now grazes as best she can in our ten acres and she will be loved and cared for for the rest of her life.

But I know for certain–because I saw it firsthand–that the majority of horses in this country are not lovingly euthanised and buried under a gum tree. They enter the cycle of horse slaughter, often with terrible, painful injuries and illness, and spend weeks being trucked around, fed rubbish food, kept in pens where other horses attack them, live in fear and die that way.

I know you don’t want to hear it.

Trust me, I don’t either.

Film Review: Battle of the Sexes

Just Fabulous!

I went to see this film because I love both Emma Stone and Steve Carell, the two stars, and I have been known to spend many hours on the couch during the Australian Open, indulging in tennis. I was not disappointed.

Stone plays Bille Jean King and Carell plays Bobby Riggs, both tennis greats in the USA, who played a match in 1973 to see who was the greater player.The-Battle-of-the-Sexes-Poster

I have so much to say about this film and yet, just like the film, I want to leave a lot of space around it. There are so many unsaid things in this story, so much quiet to hear the words that are almost to painful for both characters to express–sexuality, for King, and a gambling addiction for Riggs. Compassion overflows throughout the dialogue and story, and Carell doesn’t disappoint; he is as fabulously funny as ever, with real depths of pathos to his role.

This film made me uncomfortable in the sense that it was difficult to watch the truly disgraceful disparity in male and female power in that era (and the appalling way female tennis players were treated), and the icy feeling that, in truth, not much has changed.

(Also, can we pause a moment to feel some respect for Australian champion Margaret Court who was travelling halfway around the world WITH A BABY and couldn’t even afford a decent hotel room let alone a nanny?!?)

I loved this film through and through.

4.5 stars