So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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BOOKS ON SALE; THIS WEEKEND ONLY, 14th and 15th September!


All are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Links are below. Do enjoy and leave me a review!!!!

CHALLENGER

A deceitful friend and an injured horse. Can the horses and dogs in Joanna’s life help her to find faith and healing? Equine Assisted Therapy is a key theme.  ‘A beautiful rural family drama, especially for horse and animal lovers.’ Genevieve Raas

https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Horses-Reflect-Our-Souls-ebook/dp/B07HMYMMR8

 

COMPROMISE

Hardworking Mollie’s life is full of disasters, but can moving in with Chris, in a deal called Compromise living solve her problems?Deeply buried secrets, horses and cows in a gripping drama, where two people try to find their peace. ‘A wonderful story with so many layers…I loved spiritual connection between humans and animals.’ One chapter more

https://www.amazon.com/Compromise-Horses-Souls-Anna-Rashbrook-ebook/dp/B07RRB8BN9

CHAOS

Chris and Mollie might be trying to move on, but their lives are still filled with tragedies, dilemmas and difficult horses. In an explosive climax, will they finally find their happy ending?

Released September 28th.

https://www.amazon.com/CHAOS-Horses-Souls-Anna-Rashbrook-ebook/dp/B07XJCS3DT

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Guest Post; Grant Leishman

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Grant  (here with his wife, Thess)  As an fellow ex-pat, I was interested to hear about his new life. The booky links are at the bottom for his work!

Do you miss New Zealand? If so what in particular?

Perhaps I should feel guilty, but the truth is I don’t miss a lot about New Zealand at all, except for people, especially my son, who I haven’t seen now for over eight years. Excitingly, though, he is scheduled to come here next February, so we’re all hyped up about that. I remember before I came here, sitting in my lounge in Gore, in a freezing, winter southerly and saying to my son; “what person in their right mind would choose to live in a freezing, god-forsaken, hell-hole of a place, like this?” From time to time, when the temperature becomes too hot for me here, I wistfully long for one of those cold southerlies. In general, though, I was done with New Zealand and I’m pretty sure New Zealand was done with me….lol. They do say, home is where the heart is… and my heart is definitely here.

 Ex pats often miss certain products (me it’s dairy milk chocolate). Do you miss any thing?

I miss three things the most: Meat pies, Fish and Chips and oddly enough, beetroot. There’s nothing I like more in my salad sandwiches than a slice of beetroot but it seemed like nobody had even heard of it here and so began, The Great Beetroot Hunt. We scoured the local supermarkets for cans of beetroot but nary a can was to be found. Eventually, though, we did find a local version of the product in one supermarket. It’s not as good as the Watties’ version, but beggars can’t be choosers. Damn, I’d kill for a meat pie, though, somedays.

 What was the most major adjustment you had to make- apart from climate??

The biggest adjustment I probably had to make was finding something to do that was meaningful and fulfilling. I was only 52 when I came here and way too young to retire. It was almost impossible to find work, given the lack of the language (which still haunts me – I still can only speak a tiny bit of Tagalog, although I can understand more than I used to). After a year or so as a “house-husband”, I rediscovered my love of writing and that led onto editing and VA work, which all helps to pay the bills. As we all know, making a living as an author is a dream for most of us but I do find my work fulfilling, now.

 What is better/worse/ the same about living in the Philippines?

Better: My beautiful wife and my step-family. They really do make any minor difficulties worthwhile, but I do also love the relaxed lifestyle – I work when I want and I don’t when I don’t.  

 Worse: The traffic and the heat – but I manage to avoid most of the worst of that by working from home.

 The Same: Still have bills to pay! Damn!  

 What was the biggest culture shock for you?

I think the biggest culture shock for me was having to sit back and not being able to participate in conversations. Most people here speak a very high standard of English but, of course, when they are together they speak in Tagalog and for me, it’s hard to follow, so initially I did feel somewhat isolated. I think the other big culture shock was the sheer volume of people and the lack of “personal space”, especially on public transport. That took some getting used to – being crammed into a rattly, old tin can, called a jeepney, like sardines.     

Would you go back to NZ to live?

I can’t think of a single reason why I would ever go back to New Zealand to live. Manila is my home and this is where I’ll grow old (hopefully), die (not too soon, please) and be buried. I am a Filipiwi but pure Pinoy in my heart.

  What is your all time most favourite book?

Wow! So many to choose from and I do read over a hundred and fifty a year – exclusively Indie authors, I might add. If I had to choose the one book that made the biggest difference in my life, it would be, The Hero by Rhonda Byrne.

 For fiction, legacy-published authors, my favourite book of all time is: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johan Wyss.

 If I had to choose the book I’d most enjoyed reading, purely from an entertainment perspective it would probably be from an Indie Author and I’m leaning, at the moment, toward a book about WWII by one of the best exponents of that genre, Ellie Midwood: A Motherland’s Daughter – A Fatherland’s Son. But, I have read many, many, superb books, from an absolutely amazing group of Indie authors, over the years.

 


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Swallows

On August 24th, I was in Tamsweg and saw the swallows gathering to get ready to fly to Africa. It was amazing, you imagine such things are in the past. But no, here they were hundreds of them!


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Bella and Swingle’s holiday

For International dog day!

Bella came to stay for a few days and we had a ball!

Paddling was best in the hot weather.

Plenty of games of bitezes!

I even let her sleep on my favourite bit of the sofa!

In the woods was fun too.

Bella fell in the pond once, I did warn her! Oh it was fun!


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Wow, I’ve got an article published!

This is on https://digital.imprint.co.uk, yippee!

All my life I have loved horses and dogs. I am also a Christian. When my time came to begin writing, these passions made my books. I had a very clear dream which began my first one which is now titled, Challenger. What follows may sound familiar. The sitting and writing it all out was pure pleasure, then the pain set in. Editing!

I discovered how rusty I was but found some totally honest beta readers. They spoke quite bluntly and got me editing until I was blue in the face. Then came the larks with creating the ebook and its cover. With some birthday money, I went to a book marketing company. They gave me a paid plan and nursed me through the process of making a professional attempt, more editing and checking.

Through them, I found that I had made my biggest blunder. Going for a title that I liked, but it wouldn’t catch the readers’ eye. Any of you heard of a Baize door? The book flopped on NetGalley and sales were negligible.

I relaunched the book as Challenger and the reviews began to come in. Now, here’s the crunch. Most people seem to want to read Murder/Mysteries or paranormal. This I found through some, er, review groups, but let’s not get into that. This meant some people who had never in their lives read a horse book had to, and to my relief, the majority were pleasantly surprised.

Then it was the endless publicising in Facebook groups, my blogs, wherever I could. It was time-consuming and frustrating. The only thing I found that worked was the Amazon ad that the company ran for me – I couldn’t get my head around running the Amazon ad myself!!! As the first run had flopped, they re-ran the whole package for me for free.

I had made a plan for my writing and while I hadn’t written a best seller, things moved. I had to go on. The next book, Compromise was written more quickly and this time I had it professionally edited-by a retired editor friend. But even so, more work was needed. This time when I went back to the book company, they didn’t like my cover. I argued my case as I had now thoroughly researched my genre and the cover matched this. I felt I knew my field now. It’s still early days with the Ad. I’ve written the next book and am editing it myself. I have invested in a programme, Pro writing Aid that is amazing.

Through my beta readers, research and groups, I’ve got to know other horse book writers. The thrill of chatting with them and swapping experiences have been amazing. It’s a small genre compared to some, but the books do sell.

The main problem is that Amazon does not have a category for adult horse fiction. If you want a good adult horsey read, you find them under Teenage and Young adult equestrian non-fiction books. This is where the mostly middle-aged women readers go. Daft isn’t it? My answer was to start a FaceBook group, Horse Books for Grown-Ups to match readers with writers.

I have also ruthlessly cut out anything that doesn’t work, such as the FB advertising groups. I don’t think many readers actually look at them. The only thing that got my books started, as said, was the Amazon ad, and that’s my main form of advertising now. I don’t give free books away; people just grab them and don’t read. I will reduce the price of my first book when the trilogy is complete. I do look for mainstream ideas to build my market and am honoured to be part of the Mom’s Favorite Reads emagazine team -whether they are so thrilled I don’t know!

Here are my tips – Not in any sort of priority and you can apply them to the mainstream as well.

  1. Research your genre on Amazon. Look at who is selling in the bestsellers and download samples to get an idea of what is current. Titles and covers, look at these too. Abad picture of a horse won’t sell. Check how many other people are already using your fantastic title.
  2. Categories. We get three when we publish. But you can request up to ten Browse categories, the top three are listed on your book page. The whole list is on the Amazon sidebar on the left. You do need to keep checking them though, they can get altered. Amazon gets a bad press, but so far, my experience is 90% positive.
  3. Be prepared to invest in good programmes and help!
  4. Find the specific groups on Facebook, join them and be active; you can then chat with people writing the same things. Join technical groups, such as for creating coversand mainstream author groups for support, Beta readers and moans! Maybe create your own group.
  5. Look at your genre on places such as BookBub, is it there at all? If not, don’t bother to go with them. Search for websites and blogs on your subject that might be good for promoting. Find other authors in the same genre and contact them. You can get so much good advice and support this way.
  6. Get a good editing programme. I use Pro writing aid and it’s worth every penny. If you have Word 365, use the read-aloud function that’s amazing.
  7. If you use a marketing company, remember that unless paid to, they won’t have read your book. We’re all very precious about our babies, but if they don’t know the book, they might not be able to give the right support. Also, sometimes they are heavily pressed, and you might not be happy with the work, be patient!
  8. Do set some realistic goals and keep to them.
  9. Beta readers. Friends and family are useless. Find random readers from groups who will be totally impartial. BUT don’t send an editable document to a stranger and you must set deadlines.
  10. Be tough, if an idea or website doesn’t produce sales; stop wasting time.
  11. If you blog, host other authors and hopefully some will host back. You can reach huge audiences this way.
  12. Keep writing. The more books you have in your stable brings readers who want to read all of your work. That’s how to make some money.
  13. A niche book will only hit the jackpot if you put in a homicidal, sexually active zombie unicorn that travels in time.
  14. Don’t overdo the FB/blog posts, there comes a point where people switch off.

 

Born in Winchester (UK) Anna grew up with dogs and a passion for horses which was fulfilled when her family moved to the countryside and she had her first pony. After school, she spent a year in Switzerland, then came, home met Dave in Marwell zoo, settled and raised a family. She later took a degree with the Open University, graduating with a First Class Honours in English and History. Anna worked for five years at the Fortune Centre in Hampshire as a Riding Therapist. Married for 36 years, she has two adult children who wouldn’t move to Austria when she moved there in 2007. Maybe a victim of watching too many editions of A Place in the Sun and Grand Designs, she loves Austria and has no plans to leave! She now teaches English and is concentrating on her writing novels.

Anna rejected faith until her own family went through the trauma of an eviction and homelessness in the 1980s. It was through these events that she found God again. Since then she’s been involved in Baptist, Anglican and Free churches, she’s now in the Anglican Church in Austria. However, she says she is just a Christian who happened to be in these churches and wouldn’t wish to be labelled! Anna also writes an Award-nominated blog about Austria which tells of rich experiences of life in a new country. This is now hosting guest blogs from other authors!

http://www.annarashbrook.wordpress.com

 

 


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The library goes on the legend trail!

In reverse order! As part of our summer programme we went to Kendlebruck and walked through the village to the little pilgrimage church; Maria Hollenstein. It means literally a hole in a stone. It was found that the water running through it has healing properties for eyes. The church dates back to the 18th century, and was renovated in the 1950s. They’re now raising €1,000,000 to do it up again. Shocking waste of money as far as I’m concerned….Still the kids had a great time, especially in the playground at the end!


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Simple beauties sitting on the barn window