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Note: I am listed as Dionie McNair on the Attending Authors list.
Dionie McNair YA http://www.dionie-mcnair.com/
Cassandra Hawke Romance (you’re already here)
Emily Tyler Fantasy with strong female protagonists http://emilytylerbooks.com
I make a point to read local writers whenever I can and I am rarely disappointed. I picked up this new novel by Tricia Stringer ‘Dust on the Horizon’ when I attended the Romance Writers of Australia conference. When I purchased the book I did not realize it was book two of a series. My experience was it holds its own as a standalone. I think I will go back and get number 1.
Set in 1881 ‘Dust on the Horizon captures the beautiful, but unforgiving landscape of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia and the relentless hardships and heartbreak early settlers in the area faced.
The story chronicles the story of two families, the Baker’s and the Wiltshires’. They share a dark history of greed and deceit, and stolen land and illegitimate children. As both families fight to survive in a harsh environment plagued by drought Joseph loses both his wife and his pastoral lease Smith’s Ridge at the hands of the unscrupulous and racist, Henry Whiltshire. But Henry has his own secrets and they come to haunt him in the form of half brother, Jack Aldridge. Born to an Aboriginal woman Jack is caught between two worlds. He is bitter and grasping, and seeks out his father’s family. He wants what Henry Wiltshire has and will stop at nothing to take it.
The lives of Henry, Jack and Joseph and the women they love become entwined in a ruthless battle for money, property and prosperity that will cost one of them their life.
I enjoyed Tricia’s writing and love the way she creates characters that jump off the page, make you care for them and stay with you long after the last page has been turned. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to book 3.
During the development stage of a new project In my writing I feel it is essential to fully know ones characters. Who they are; their culture, values, principles and where they would draw the line in the sand if forced to? I also like to give each one little quirks and at least one trait that is easily recognizable to the reader.
I have often used a book on baby names with a short analysis of the zodiac signs in the back to shape my characters personalities. It explains to parents what to expect of their child’s personality by what star sign they are born under. While it is not necessarily totally accurate (on assessing myself an Aries, I find both accurate and way off) but it is an interesting way to find personality traits for a character. It helps me keep it consistent and often offers traits that I might not think of.
The traits can be used as a source of conflict within the story, matching the characters to an occupation, giving them a temper or a natural sense of adventure. I enjoy the way I can drill down into each star sign and deepen my character’s personality so the reader can truly get to know them.
Of course there is much written about star signs and their love/relationship compatibility with other signs? Some say opposites attract and there’s probably plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to support this. Does this opposition make it harder to maintain a relationship or does it just make it an interesting match. Are people just naturally quiet, laidback or fiery or can it be attributed to their star sign?
The star signs of the zodiac are divided into four element categories. Fire, earth, water and air. Do these elements mix—what about fire and water? Personality wise would one extinguish the other?
Not according to one article I read. They propose that Aries (fire) and Pisces (water) are a perfect match, but suggest Virgo’s (earth) and Pisces (water) will make mud so romance is out. Mmmmm. Aries with an Aries—loops an ego clash or Aries and Gemini (air) a delightful match, then there is Cancer (water), and Scorpio (water) also touted to be great matches. I would suggest if water and earth make mud, then fire and water would be a total disaster. But then that’s only my thoughts. In my case Aries and Taurus—considered challenging.
There is much much more to be taken into account with astrology that I have little or no knowledge of but it is fun to match or mismatch my characters personalities according to the star signs.
Dog people are noteworthy for their loyalty and honesty in any relationship. They also focus their interest in a specialty subject, giving their whole heart and soul into it, be it a hobby or a career. They stick strongly to their principles of fairness and justice, and they also have great creative problem-solving skills. Dog individuals are challenged most by their need to criticize and their innate nature of having “sharp tongues.” As friends and lovers, they can be very trustworthy, but with special someone’s, they can be quite unforgiving because they tend to hold grudges till they feel they have been appeased. They have a profound need for a good, long-lasting relationship, making them loyal for life especially when feel they have found their perfect mate.
I can only apply it to me—some fits some does not, But then again my ex-husband was also a Year of the Dog again some fits and some does not.
So what do you think?
I think perhaps we should be looking for that chemistry in the first instance then finding out if we have shared explicit or implicit fundamental beliefs, concepts, and principles that underlie and guide the decisions and behavior of each of us. Some of the things that will hold us together when the first passion of being ‘in love’ fades. They say it lasts about 2 years. Of course reading the stars is an interesting side exploration into our potential life mate, I think it might be precarious to rely too much on what the stars predict even if it works for my heroines and heroes.
See how the chemistry unfolds in my books
Or for something different by Cassandra
Young Adult Novels written as Dionie McNair
Finding the Upside of Down (realistic fiction about bullying, teenage suicide and finding a way through the pain)
Last night I sat and watched TV. It is something I rarely do but the movie title caught my attention. ‘Making of a Princess’. It was the story (dramatized, of course) of the romance between the Danish Prince Frederik and the commoner from Tasmania, (Australia) Mary Donaldson.
I’m an Aussie and fact or fiction or a combination of both, as I watched the drama unfold I began to realize just what this woman gave up to marry the man she loved. Her country, her family, her friends, her language, her privacy, in the event of divorce the right to take her children back to live in Australia.
There are so many things I love about Australia; the climate, the lifestyle, the beaches. It is my home.
I only speak English and I believe I would struggle to learn another language. I was married to a non Australian and the memories of trying to negotiate the cultural difference make me shudder even today, 20 years on.
And to marry into a royal family with its age old protocols, rules and expectations must have been daunting to the extreme. Never mind about the constant eye of the media and the need to be ‘groomed’ in the appropriate manner to behave. To have the weight of all the Danish citizens expectations upon your shoulders; their constant judgment, and the need to always present the royals in a favorable light.
Her love for Frederik must have been huge, her faith in him and in herself to maintain her love for a lifetime. When she walked down that aisle there was no going back.
For most of us we believe we love our partners, but how big is that love.
I look at my romances and I ponder how big is the love my heroines have for the heroes. None of them has made an enormous sacrifice to be with the heroes. Yes they have gone and changed, but none of them have actually turned their back on their life as they know it and walked away hand in hand with the man they love.
As I write this I search my own heart. Could I do that, would I do that? And to my shame I cannot say with certainty that I could. Perhaps then I have never been truly in love.
Is Mary Donaldson’s sacrifice (yes I know she was going to be a Princess) something I could emulate. Is it so huge it is out of reach of most of us? Do any of us love so deeply, so unwaveringly?
Would the sacrifice unbalance the relationship? Does Frederik feel he owes Mary? Does Mary feel she has given more than he? Ten years on they appear (for what it is worth) and are shown in the media to be still in love and a contented couple and happy family with their four children.
Did Mary have any regrets? Does she have them today? Does she ever ponder on the life she missed out on here in Australia because of her love for a prince or does her love for him still sustain her even today. Does their love enrich her, reward her and compensate her for what she left behind.
And as to my heroines – could I write one willing to make such sacrifices. Or my hero. Is the love I create in my pages equal to Federik and Mary’s? I’m not sure and I would like to be.