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The recent Toowoomba Writers Festival was held in the historic hall beside the magnificent St Lukes church. From the very first time I saw St Luke’s church I felt such a strong a connection I featured this glorious blue-stone church in my first novel “Tails Carried High”. I found the first reference to St Lukes at the beginning of the book and now share it with you.


 The beautiful St Lukes Toowoomba


“In the days following her mother’s funeral, Jessikah stayed in the house, surrounded by the things she loved. Her friend Nyla brought meals in the evening, worried at Jessikah’s need to clean the place from top to bottom.
When it was the attic’s turn to be tackled, what Jessikah found there astounded them both. An old cedar chest, covered in years of dust, had been hidden away in the corner. Jessikah had to find the courage to lift the lid. Inside she found it was full of her mother’s treasures. There were teddy bears and two beautiful Art Deco lamps wrapped in colourful Indian scarves, but she exclaimed with delight at a small, finely worked painting of a white horse. She hung the painting in her room and, before she fell asleep, willed this Pegasus creature to take her to realms unknown in her dreams.
Jessikah had hit the attic with good intentions but, once she found the chest, she became fascinated by its contents and the cleaning was forgotten.
The biggest surprise was a faded postcard from Australia, showing a large bluestone church in a city called Toowoomba. The card was pinned to an equally faded championship ribbon, a tricolour sash with ‘Royal Melbourne Show’ printed in bold yellow along the top and ‘Champion Purebred Arabian Stallion 1968’ underneath. Jessikah had no idea why her mother even had such a thing. When she turned the card over, she found the name ‘Simon Rhodes’ in her mother’s handwriting. Who was this Simon Rhodes, and what was his connection to her mother?
Jessikah’s new found interest in Toowoomba led her to wonder about her future. There was nothing to stop her from searching out this Simon Rhodes, and the idea of spending time ‘down-under’ fired her imagination.
Images of white sandy beaches, Uluru and unique wildlife were irresistible. Deep down, she knew getting away was just what she needed: the trip could be a journey of discovery.
Instead of renting her family home, Jessikah decided to sell. A phone call to an estate agent had the property sold immediately and for more than she expected. With excited anticipation, she began packing, selling and storing her belongings.
Before leaving, she telephoned the Royal Melbourne Show Society in Australia to ask for the name of the owner of the Champion Purebred Arabian stallion for 1968. Jessikah nearly dropped the phone when told her grandmother had owned the horse—Emma Hagen had bred Arabian horses in Queensland. The information sent Jessikah into a tailspin. Were the stories her mother told her true? For hours, she sat and gazed at the white horse in the painting, committing the brush strokes to memory, and wondering if the woman who brought Arabian horses all the way from Egypt was in fact from her family.”


Readers’ praise for “Tails Carried High”
Revenge, intrigue and wonderful details make you feel you are actually there in the beautiful Australian countryside! All combined in a very engaging first novel. Unexpected surprises in the final pages keep you from putting this book down! A must read for any adventure/horse lover!!
Willa Frayser, equine artist, USA

And now you have written a book. I knew it would be good. A book with the setting in Australia, horse related, with a love story and family secrets. I couldn’t wait to begin to read … but I was not prepared, not in the slightest, that it would be not just a book that tells a story but that this is a book that contains a whole world between its covers and sucks you in the minute you lay eyes on the first lines and begin to read. After some hours I WAS in Australia—I felt the sun in my face, I was with Jessikah on her journey to the past. You really have the gift to take the reader by the hand and unfold a whole continent in front of his eyes. I just took a deep breath, jumped into the story and never ever wanted to get out of it again. When I realised that I was coming closer and closer to the end I read slower and slower because I wanted to prolong it as much as possible. Carmel, I love your book.
Oliver Wibihal, editor of LISA magazine, Germany

I have to write and tell you that I went ‘flying high’ through my book shortly after I received it. What a grand start to your series and I am so very happy you are writing and sharing your knowledge of the Arabian world in such exciting fiction. One of my best reads in several years! And, yes, I am passing on the word.
Kay Stone Buford, Tulsa, OK, USA

Tails Carried High is a great novel that touched me personally. It is a wonderful mystery that keeps you in suspense till the last chapter, plus being a great educational book that teaches people how to love and care for Arab horses. It touches the spirit of these noble beings. It explains the circumstances that surround the show ring and the Arab horse’s world nowadays, which make us see the threat of the modern world on them. It puts us on the right track to serve and protect these wonderful creatures.
Ali Shaarawi, Arabian horse breeder and international judge, Egypt

Congratulations on a wonderful book. Thanks for sending it so promptly. I read it in the first week and am now reading it for a second time. I so enjoyed the story but, more importantly, it jogged my memory as to why we decided to breed the Arabian horse. We’ve been a bit jaded and also a bit fed up with the Arabian horse scene over the last year or two. But your book made us stop and think about the real reason for breeding this wonderful horse (I thank you for that as well) … Thank you and please let me know when the next one will be available.
Cheryl O’Leary, Midu Arabians, Queensland, Australia

Congratulations—the book is a terrific read! I won’t be handing my signed copy on to my daughter as originally planned but will keep it in my ‘special books’ library as I will enjoy going back and re-reading it on many occasions, I am sure. It is definitely a ‘can’t put down’ read—just MY sort of book! Love the weaving of the horses, generations, Australian countryside and farms, family feuds, etc … Please put me on the ‘to be advised’ list for when you finish the next book. Sandy Smith, Birdwood Stud, Australia

I absolutely loved your book, couldn’t leave it alone. Nicely factual and romantic and I loved the descriptions of towns, trees and places. I could just imagine it all. It’s written with a deep love of the Arabian horse. I will have to go and check the necks of them all to see if they have the thumb print!
Fiona Henchman, Arabian horse breeder
and dairy farmer, New Zealand

Tails Carried High  and the rest of the series canbe purchased from my website

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