THE FAR HORIZON:A Stand-Alone Novel & (Book 2 of The Macquarie Series)
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But doing the right thing means risking his heart. On her own. She has little time for her growing attraction to Zach. While the town gossips eagerly discuss every interaction between them, Amber and Zach must choose between protecting their hearts and taking a chance on love. This week, international best-selling Aussie author Fiona McArthur joins me on the blog. In her non-writing life she has worked as a midwife — hence the medical themes that recur in her books. To find out more, read on! Thanks for this fab series of blogs. One of the standouts for me is imagining the vast variety of vibrant landscapes described in our rural and outback books and the way each author portrays their connection to the land they write about.
I think the scenery is so important that I like to think of that landscape as another character in my books. The other really exciting part is sharing the strengths, the challenges and the joys of the characters who live in the more remote areas of Australia. I love writing about small rural townspeople, adventures in great outback landscapes, inhabitants of remote islands, and the station owners on far reaches of our great country. So babies or medical emergencies in outback Queensland, Western Queensland, remote New South Wales like Broken Hill, and all that land that stretches away down to Victoria across to Northern Territory and up towards Queensland.
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I just love that feeling of solitude sitting on top of that rolling sea of beautiful big crystals of bright orange sand at sunrise. I really wanted to share that and other beautiful aspects of Australia in each new setting with my readers.
Mount Gipps Station holds the most incredible variety of rocks, crystals and stones in rows like skeletal ridges and the paddocks roll away with small scrubby bushes and hidden hollows. The station couple I met there were the epitome of down-to-earth, brave, hard-working, laid-back heroes and were just all-out inspirational with their ability to take the tough times with the good times and turn their hands to anything that needed to be done.
I have this memory of Kym driving off with her dogs on this quad bike up to the sheep yards. She makes me smile just thinking about her. You might have seen her mailbox that I posted to my Homestead Girls Facebook page. I love it so much I actually added it to two books. Which brings me to my new release, The Desert Midwife.
The Mount Gipps mailbox is in there too. Such fun. The Desert Midwife is set in central Australia. My heroine, Ava, is part of a long-standing station family whittled down to three generations of women. Our hero, fly in fly out Dr Zach, is a widower, who has come to Alice Springs to briefly escape the memories of the prolonged and tragic death of his wife in Sydney and his own guilt as the driver of the car she was so badly injured in. Zac meets Ava, with instant attraction on both sides. I hope you will pick up the book, lose yourself in the desert, and smile at the end when you put it down.
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With warmest wishes for happy reading Xx Fi. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and also on the NASCAR racetracks of America. Her small town and Australian rural romances have made the Amazon bestseller and top lists. Juanita writes mostly contemporary and Australian rural romantic suspense but also likes to dabble in the ponds of fantasy and paranormal with Greek gods brought to life in the 21st century.
But from the early age of six, I developed a love affair with Australia, kangaroos, kookaburras and koalas, most likely thanks to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
In the late nineties, my dreams were realised when we emigrated to Western Australia and here, I discovered a whole new world. I remember leaving Perth airport and there were kangaroos in the fields on the way out. Western Australia has some of the wildest, prettiest coastline. Inland is filled with treasures too, like Karajini National Park to the north-west with its breathtaking gorges, land of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga people.
Down to the south-east, Albany boasts blow-holes that shoot fountains of water up through the rocks, driven by the sheer force of nature and the sea. And in Walpole, you can walk through the treetops in the Valley of the Giants amid the amazing Karri trees. Closer to home is my favourite place, hidden deep in the Perth hills, Araluen Botanical Park. This is where I set my very first series, Under the Law. Simons, built a holiday camp for his youth organisation on 59 hectares in a misty valley in Roleystone.
Constructed in a series of terraces, water cascades into the pool of reflection. Every year, on Remembrance Day, the park is full of red poppies. In contrast, the mine was a huge, arid red scar on the landscape. I was very happy to learn that the land is steadily being rehabilitated in keeping with land-owner agreements. That got me thinking about the dwindling farms that gave way to those seeking more secure employment with the mine and wondering how farmers and miners got along. And so, the Wongan Creek series was born.
In all my Australian Rural stories, I try to write in a special animal or two. Home to Bindarra Creek stars Muttley, the orphaned kangaroo, and a cheeky cockatoo named Curly.
Robbie becomes a life-saving hero in both Whispers and Shadows over Wongan Creek. I love this wonderful, inspiring, vibrant land. There are stories to tell everywhere. Old secrets resurface and new ones come to town, drawing the community together as gold fever threatens to tear their town apart. After years of repressed memories haunting her dreams, she is forced to face the truth to find justice.
But with truth comes a danger that puts everyone she loves at risk. Kieran Murphy left Wongan Creek a newly-wed and returned a widower. He believes he and his young son will find healing in the town that healed him once before. Instead, he finds the woman he loved running scared, her life in turmoil and her business under threat.
As the shadows of the past gather on the horizon, will they lose their chance of happiness or will they find healing together? Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. A voracious reader and born performer, she has had a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants. She writes rural romatic suspense and paranormal romance. President of Romance Writers of Australia from When I was younger, my family holidays were mostly to the snow or going down to Merricks, near Red Hill, or up to Marysville, but some of my most memorable holidays have been ones where there have been trips into mountainous regions, and even better, if there is horse riding involved.
When I was nine, I started having horse riding lessons. I was by no means a natural, but I loved horses and I desperately wanted to be able to ride proficiently, with the hope I might have a horse one day. That particular dream never eventuated, but the horse-riding lessons led into some of my most memorable holidays. It started when a family friend who also loved horses, the bush and horse riding, took me on a 5-day horse riding trek from Omeo through the Victorian Alpine region when I was thirteen.
I skinned rabbits, avoided snakes, survived sleeping in a shed with spiders as big as my face, and it was amazing and exhilarating and tiring and so much fun I still remember it vividly to this day. We rode through heat and torrential rain, cold so profound that it snowed and we loved every moment. We did this every year through high school, and it had such a profound effect on me, that my husband thought it the perfect place to propose to me. He sneakily organised a special ride with just us and a stop in a lovely scenic place so he could pop the question.
So romantic! But I digress. Years after we finished high school and stopped going to the camps, my sister and I wanted to experience horse riding through the bush again. She particularly wanted to do a ride through the Victorian Alps and the family friend who had taken me all those years ago was keen to come with us too.
We found a place near Merrijig up near Mt Buller that took people on different length horse treks. Staying in some of the famous old sheep yard flats and camping every night. It was a four day trek and we had the time of our lives. Out of touch with civilization — no phone signal for most of the time, which was really very relaxing. Riding hard all day through gorgeous mountain country.
Setting up a tent every night with every muscle aching. We are keen to go again. It was on this trek that I started having an idea about a suspense novel set in an alpine region on a horse-riding stud. The idea bloomed and grew and before I knew it, I was writing a coming home novel with growing suspense and a hot and feisty romance. That book turned into Climbing Fear. I poured all my love of the alpine region and the knowledge gained from my horse riding treks into the story. The reviews for the first issue for the year in February are already in place, so you will be working on the reviews for the March issue.
You will need to be an Australian resident to perform this role. Aurealis is pleased to be partnering with the Royal Society of Victoria to present a conference of interest to all new, emerging and established Science Fiction writers. Science for Science Fiction brings together some of the best known names in Australian SF and Australian science to talk SF — how to do it and what current trends in science could be fertile ground for stories. The conference is to be held in Melbourne on April All those who attend will receive a free print copy of the prestigious th issue of Aurealis.
See here for the program. Here for booking. Pre-order your copy of Aurealis now! Hype can be a terrible thing. Nowhere is the fomenting and creation of expectation more fraught than when a filmmaker or writer approaches a bygone fiction with the intention of re-presenting it for contemporary audiences, and there can be no more volatile bygone fictions than those that have transcended their genres to become pop-culture staples. Expectations were immediately heightened when it was announced that Gareth Edwards, the director of the serious and thoughtful giant-monster movie Monsters , would be making an American version of this pop-culture icon.
These expectations were raised higher as its release date drew closer and the hype grew: set photos and teasers and trailers hinted at the potential of greatness, of a sense of scale and menace hitherto unseen. There are three distinct factors that I believe make Godzilla this way. A good example of this technique occurs in the opening scene, which takes place at an enormous mine deep in the jungles of the Philippines. At first, a wide-shot of the rolling, verdant jungle establishes the scene, which quickly cuts to the cabin of a helicopter flying over it and then cuts back. The deep green of the jungle suddenly disappears before an ugly blight of torn-open earth, towering cranes, flimsy bridges and access roads, all of which are collapsing into a deep cavern.
Open inspection of this cavern, Dr Serizawa and his colleagues discover the fossilised remains of a MUTO, as well as two spores, one dead and one empty. This technique is repeated time and again. The Janjira Nuclear Power Plant that becomes a food source for the first incubating MUTO is initially portrayed as a mess of smoke-stacks and towers that loom over a quaint peninsula township, and is then portrayed as the centre of a crumbling ghost town after the MUTO takes residence, a ghost town with deliberate echoes of the empty post-Chernobyl town of Pripyat. Each time, the pattern is the same: here is nature, here is what we can do to it, and here is what they can do to it.
In those scenes where the natural environment overshadows the built, a third size comparison enters the play: people with the built, the built with the natural, the built with the monster and the natural together. We first see our characters at the bridge of a battleship. A warning comes to them: Godzilla is approaching, swimming underwater, and will pass beneath them.
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The characters duly head out to the deck, and the first size comparison is made: they are dwarfed by the infrastructure of the battleship, made tiny by this marvel of human ingenuity. The second comparison then occurs, as the battleship is framed against the empty and horizon-filling ocean.
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And then Godzilla passes beneath them, his tail and the fins on his back breaking the surface and causing the battleship to rise and fall. Over and over again, people are shown being dominated by the environments that they have created, which themselves end up being dominated by nature and the monsters together. In other words, we are let down in the end by these things that we have created.
Instead, these built environments — environments that, in many ways, have come to dominate the natural and act as self-erected monuments celebrating our pride — are now nothing more than playgrounds for the monsters and vacant land for nature to reclaim. The third factor that elevates Godzilla is its unarguable sense of realism.
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The events that they experience affect them deeply and make them behave in ways different from the usual, and they react in much the same way that we would. This makes them a lot more relatable, fosters a genuine sense of empathy and connection, and helps anchor the more fantastical parts of the narrative. However, after the appearance of the first MUTO, Brody slowly develops a tendency to look a little blank-faced, to speak in a bit of a monotone, to obey orders almost automatically, and to pare his syntax back to its bare essentials, behaviours that eventually come to dominate his state of being.
Now, this could chiefly be explained in one of two ways: bad writing and bad acting, or the realistic actions of a soldier in the field who has been trained to make split-second decisions without a second thought. When we take this line of thinking further and recognise the fact that Brody has found himself not only orphaned but also uncertain as to whether his wife and child are alive or dead, his stilted behaviour starts to make more sense.
His slightly robotic movements, flat speech patterns and almost-instinctive reactions start to look more like a kind-of auto-pilot suffered by a soldier undergoing PTSD, a solider who has no choice but to keep on fighting. A similar dual perspective exists when we look at the character of Dr Serizawa. But it is arguably an excellent giant-monster monster, one that becomes better with repeat viewings, especially now that the hype has died down. Our first issue of provided a glimpse of the year ahead in Australian speculative fiction, listing release dates for adult science fiction and fantasy across many subgenres.
Following interest in this list, some publishers got in touch to suggest other titles we could mention. We decided to publish a follow-up with more upcoming releases, and posted a callout for any other books we could include. Here, then, is an additional list of books you can look forward to in Fans of science fiction and horror will find much to add to their reading lists, but fantasy fans can also anticipate ghosts, magic, and visits to other worlds.
New Zealand mountains are a scenic—but fittingly dangerous—backdrop for a thriller in which an expedition of geologists disappear one by one. Readers who like a dash of the speculative in their action should enjoy this as well as the other SNAFU anthologies.
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