Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year in Review

The year in review

2013 is almost done and dusted … and at this time of the year it’s great to look back at the past year and reflect on acheivements and also those things that could we could have done better…

Firstly what I could have done better …

For a little while I have been asking blog readers to sign up for my regular newsletters… but there’s only been one problem…trying to create a newsletter using Mailchimp. Creating a newsletter sounds so good, but it has provided me with yet another steep learning curve… Last week I decided to recitfy this omission and created my first newsletter to send out to all those regular readers of my blog who have signed up to receive it. The newsletter wasn’t perfect … to my chargrin I found two typos… but now that I’ve worked out the bascis … next time it won’t seem such a daunting prospect.   You can sign-up for my newsletters at

This year I have written and published two books and am halfway through a third.
In April  The Farmer Takes A Wife,  the third book in the trilogy The Mulleins of Katherine Bay was published and is now available on all sales platforms.
Kayla’s Christmas, a fun flirty romance set in Akaroa was published just in time for Christmas and the holidays. It is available on Amazon and the iBookstore

Plans for 2014
First DH and I are planning a summer holiday … and then I aim to finish Logan Sinclair’s story by the Southern autumn…. Logan is Keir Donovan’s step-brother in Lovers’ Lies… provisionally titled “The Return of The Prodigal” … Logan returns to Darkhaven with a load of baggage and has to face the people he hurt and an unimaginable grief …

And the plan is to revisit Katherine Bay and one of my favourite characters Cassie Piper, the witchy woman with the gift of “the sight”.

Wishing all my loyal readers and fans a joyful and productive New Year… and regular newsletters.      

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kayla's Christmas

Kayla's Christmas

Kayla Anders, betrayed, broke and unemployed, heads into the mountains to regroup… involvement with a man is not on her radar, but when she discovers she’s sharing the secluded lodge with a sexy Scotsman…she vows she’ll never walk blindly into another relationship, especially with a man carrying the personal baggage that Jamie so obviously does…

Jamie Barron, burnt in a bitter divorce, has sworn off involvement with any woman on the rebound of a failed relationship… but when his ex wants to reconcile, he makes Kayla an offer she can’t refuse … and they both try to fight an attraction neither can deny…

Available Now from:




Other sales links will be posted as they go live

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Felicity Price - guest post

Felicity priceToday I have a guest post by multi-published author Felicity Price -author of the moving story  In My Mothers’ Shoes 

This story is told from the perspective of three women caught up in the adoption triangle … the birthmother, the adoptive mother and the adopted daughter…this is a triangle played out in countless families throughout the world.

When I finished reading this book I knew I simply had to ask Felicity to write this post…. Here is her response
Why I simply had to write In Her Mothers’ Shoes    
Like many Baby Boomers, I was born to an unmarried mother in the 1950s and adopted at birth.

My birth mother never even got to hold me or say goodbye. I was simply taken from her while her stitches were being sewn up and she never saw me again.  

My adoptive parents told me from an early age that I’d been adopted and it never seemed a big deal until I reached my teenage years. This is the turbulent time when many of us question our parents and wish we’d been born to someone more glamorous and lenient. I know that I was certainly keen to know who my “real” mother was…although strangely enough I wasn’t so fussed about my birth father.
It wasn’t until the New Zealand adoption laws changed in 1986-7 that I was able to do anything about it.
Finally,  in the late 1980s, I got to meet her…this strangely familiar woman who had given birth to me… but I had to wait another twenty-two years until I was able to meet with my new brothers and sister.

During this time, the more people I spoke to about finding my new family, the more I realised just how common my story is. It seemed almost everyone had a half brother or sister, or cousin, or some close relative who’d suddenly popped up out of the blue. In Her Mothers’ Shoes was a story waiting to be told, and for some time writing his book had certainly occupied my mind.
 Until this time, my books had been similar to Marian Keyes’ – a mix of light-hearted humour with some serious issues - essentially written for entertainment. The title of one of them – A Sandwich Short of a Picnic – says it all.

This new novel (yes, it is fictional, but obviously based on my story) about finding my birth family, had to be different – I needed to allow for the heart-wrenching experience my birth mother lived through – the heart-warming emotion of finally meeting someone who looks like you – and after a lifetime the overwhelming sensation that – at last, you belong – you actually fit in.

To do this, I worked part-time while I attended a year long course with Bill Manhire at Victoria University studying Creative Writing, a wonderful experience. I learned to stop over-writing, over-explaining, and how to internalise better - all things that helped me write a better book.

 When it was finished, my usual publisher, Random House, told me In Her Mothers’ Shoes wasn’t sufficiently commercial – which it wasn’t, especially when compared with my earlier books.
So I published it myself – in print and online – and documented this journey on my blog… very much still a journey in progress… because I’m currently writing another book… and it’s quite different.
Will it be commercial enough – who knows – time will tell.

To learn more about Felicity go to

Felicity’s Blog:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Just Typed "The End"

It's such a satisfying sensation to type these two words.

At long last after several hiccups and blind paths where I had to backtrack,  I've finally managed to type these two magic words on my Christmas themed romance  Kayla's Christmas.
It's really weird.
This book started out as a light-hearted romp and before I knew it there were serious undertones.
Jamie Barron his a wealth of hurt and hart break behind his ready laugh.  Kayla Anders, hurting at being alone in the world, robbed blind by her ex fiancĂ©, her career in ruins, flees to the mountains to nurse her wounds and regroup.
What they each find is a magnetic attraction, a scheming ex-wife and a whole host of heavy personal baggage.     
Set in Akaroa, that delightful South Island town with such a unique history. Akaroa is about the only place that would tempt me to move south.
One final read through to catch any errors, and then Kayla's Christmas  is off to the formatters and then it will be available on a sales platform near you.
Add it to your Christmas wish list... Sales links will be posted soon.  


Friday, November 22, 2013

And old art given a new twist

The Viking Runes…an Interesting New Field

P1040506 (1024x768)
Members of Coast 2 Coast branch RWNZ

One of the real advantages of attending a writer’s retreat is having the chance to explore new ideas.
In this case it was not a “new”  idea…more a case of visiting an ancient idea, The Viking Runes as used by The Ancient Oracle.
In a workshop given by author Jen Yates and Gaylene Atkins, they showed us how we can use Runes in a thoroughly modern way.
I have to confess I would never have thought to use Rune Stones to develop characters for a romance novel, but after taking part in this workshop I am excited at the possibilities.
Jen gave us a great demonstration …
She worked with the stones to develop the characteristics and motivations of her two main characters for the historical novel she is plotting.  After spreading the stones face down on the table, she closed her eyes and moved her hand about two inches above the stones and as she felt the kinetic energy, discarded some until there was only a few and out of these selected the one giving off the most energy.
It was fascinating to watch.
There had been a free for all discussion among a lot of us who had read the first book in the series she is writing so we already knew a little about the two main characters who were bit players in the first book.  The heroine thought she was plain, and as the plain sister would never marry, but the hero could only see her kind heart…
As Jen picked up the rune she’d zeroed in on for her heroine and then read out to us what this Rune stone signified, the ideas flowed thick and fast on how to build character and motivation. It was an exhilarating experience to be part of the interaction between Jen and her audience.
Will I use try this technique for myself?
Definitely! After trying several shops I finally managed to get a copy of The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum and a set of Rune Stones in Huntly.  Will I get as good as Jen Yates at using them? That remains to be seen.
With this workshop and the one run by Sophia James, for the exercises I worked on Logan Sinclair’s story … the sequel to Lovers’ Lies that so many of my readers have asked for… and thanks to these inspiring people who are prepared to share the technicalities of their craft, I have the whole story almost mapped out.

Jen Yates is the author of  Through All Eternity  a stunning time travel novel set between ancient Atlantis and the modern world.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writer's Retreat leaves me buzzing

P1040515 (1024x768)

Held at the Paradise Valley Lodge near Rotorua,  New Zealand’s thermal wonderland. The Lodge is in a peaceful rural setting far from the madding crowds, with manicured gardens that are not only a delight to the eye, they gave us time to replenish our creative minds and souls.
The retreat is a time to re-kindle friendships, give encouragement to other writers, listen to workshops that hone our craft and above all, to enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded people.

This year we were privileged to have the very talented author, Sophia James deliver a workshop on character development and layering character in your writing.  Sophia is  a very successful historical romance author and writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon.

She explained that while the historical hero could literally get away with murder because he existed in a less politically correct and meaner world, fraught with danger where lives were easily lost and medicines non-existent, and life was infinitely more difficult, the contemporary hero has to be larger than life too,  a man who others find attractive inside and out, a man who stands out from the crowd, and is dangerous and rawly attractive.
So how does an author create these strong, memorable characters who will stand out from the ordinary in what is a very crowded market place?  Sophia’s answer is to get to know your character, inside and out, to take risks, and above all remember that every detail has to count.

A strong name is a good place to start … ideally a name that can be shortened.

Put this name in a circle in the centre of the page then ask the questions that matter. First concentrate on looks, mannerisms… Hands are important … in a book you need to consider every tiny detail…why are his/her hands like this? What has made them this way? Dark questions throw up dark answers…you don’t answer these questions, you drop them in… and at this stage write down any ideas, no matter how wild…and when you as the author have asked ten questions … ask two or three more, don’t take the first choice, the easy choice, dig deeper and this way you create a character who will tell his own story.

Physical imperfections lead a reader to question the character’s past and will inevitably spark more questions, and make your reader sit up and take notice.  In the first three chapters you lay a trail of bait that makes a reader question what is going on, and in doing so you hook a reader and keep them turning the pages in the need to find the answers.

This was a thought-provoking workshop that has left me really thinking and has given me a greater insight into the craft of writing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Zealand author takes out Man-Booker Prize

It was wonderful to see a fellow New Zealand Author take out this fantastic literary prize

I've downloaded a copy of The Luminaries that won the 2013 Man/Booker Prize.
I've read all the contradictory reviews on Amazon with as many people hating it as loving it ... at the moment I'm trying to decide which camp I'm in...
The Luminaries is certainly unique.  It is written in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Lord Bulwer-Lytton's novels ... which were written at the same time as the period in which Catton's book The Luminaries is set ... a writing style that has long been out of fashion with its almost Gothic flavour.
Once I've become accustomed to this quaint, old fashioned way of writing, I'm finding it possesses a charm and fascination all of its own.  It is not a book that I'll be able to read in great amounts at any one given time, but what I've read so far really intrigues me.
Catton has a wonderful way with words and some of her expressions are so colourful and although old-fashioned, are so uniquely New Zealand ... and for this alone, it wins top marks with me.
She has sentences like this that resonate with me....
"Drowning, the boys on the docks told him, was a West Coast disease...."
I've always had an obsession with old graveyards, and in my travels down south, I've seen countless graves for the unknowns who have been found dead in rivers and lakes... there is one such grave at Mount Peel Station in the Canterbury foothills for a wayfarer found drowned in a flooded stream on the station... the inscription (from memory) reads something like this...
Here lies an unknown traveller
Found dead in a creek
His life is honoured 
As one of us.
I have always been moved by these poignant reminders of these hardy souls, who often travelled alone and faced dangers we can't imagine as they sought the riches of the goldfields in an often hostile climate and terrain.
Catton's book is peopled with such characters and I'm finding it so refreshing to read a book that speaks to the Kiwi in me ... a connection I haven't really felt since I read The Bone People by Keri Hulme. (Who also won the Booker prize 28 years ago)
As writers we are exhorted to write in a universal voice aka American English... Why?  When we have such a gloriously unique patios of our own. And to my mind it was this uniqueness that gave this book such an edge and enabled it to claim this great award.
I will post a full review when I have finished reading The Luminaries, but the sample intrigued me sufficiently to purchase the book.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coming Soon

Coming Soon                           

Kayla's Christmas

Betrayed and stony broke Kayla Anders grasps the chance to heal and regroup at Skye High Lodge in the mountains above the picturesque town of Akaroa… what she does not expect is to be sharing the Lodge with larger than life Jamie Barron … Any involvement with another man is not on her radar… especially a man carrying the load of personal baggage that Jamie so obviously does….but when Jamie makes her an offer she can’t refuse … she finds her herself fighting an attraction she can’t deny…  

Experience Christmas "Down Under" when the holiday season comes in Mid summer...and generally there is no snow and ice to be found anywhere.   

Buy links posted soon.

Christmas is s time for giving ... have your thought of joining the thousands of others who a "gifting" an ebook this Holiday season... make an author happy and know that you are making an ecologically sound gift ... no trees are harmed in the manufacture of eBooks


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Seven For A Secret by Shirley Wine .... on sale for .99 cents

Seven For A Secret   by  Shirley Wine

On Sale .... for a limited time only  ... 99 cents

Why had she never known her life was one colossal lie?

When a posthumous letter from her father destroys Anna Belmonte's sense of identity ... she goes in search of her birthmother and the truth.

Accosted by Slade Haultain, her birthmother's step-son, Anna visits Puriri Downs,  Slade's huge sheep and cattle station high in the Kaimai Ranges. 

After years resisting her father's attempts to coerce her into an arranged marriage, Anna is leery of men and considers marriage and a career in art incompatible.  The instantaneous attraction between her and Slade makes her question this decision.... perhaps it's possible to have it all. Marriage, children and a career as an artist....

Then in one horrifying the dead hand of her father reached beyond the grave and Anna learns there are some secrets that are never meant to be told ...   

Amazon       Smashwords   Kobo   Apple iTunes      Barnes  & Noble 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Five Step Approach to Time Management

5 ways to save time....

In 2013 people are so time poor....How often do you hear someone cry.... "I don't have the time?

Tired of being bombarded from every direction and spreading myself too thinly, I've worked out a strategy to cut down on unnecessary demands on my time.

  • Deleted the blogs I'd created for my individual books ... I've recently taken a course in SEO optimisation and learned, rather to my dismay that cross posting is very counterproductive with the way Google and other search engines work. Each post should have fresh content every time I post.... if I did that on over seven blogs when would I ever find time to write books?

  • Step one...streamline your blogs to make them time productive...

  • Step two .....Unsubscribe from email lists that clutter up your inbox .

  • I unsubscribed from emails that eat into my valuable time.  With several hundred emails everyday,  I unsubscribed from Flybys, Reader's Digest, grocery stores, AA smart fuel and countless others.  

  • Step three ... still with email....go digest on important loops. this keeps you abreast  of important news, but keeps them all together in one email.

  • Step four ... make a list of blog topics .... gather any useful info in one file so you can readily find a subject to post when you are facing a deadline...

  • Step five ... programme your time to ensure you have time for friends and family ... it's too late when some-one dies to wish that you'd made time to go and see them.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Passion In Paradise Exclusive to Apple iBookstore

Exclusive to Apple                            

For a Limited Time only... 99cents


Four Top Selling Indie Authors: 

3 full length Novels and 1 Novella

The Marriage Trap by Diana Fraser

Resisting Nick by Kris Pearson

Lovers' Lies by Shirley Wine

Remember me by Serenity Woods.

Passion In Paradise has hit # one on the Apple I Store for Romance #3 for all books .... coming in 2 places behind JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith...