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Chapter One of SIGHT (The Delta Girls book 1) & A Giveaway!

To finish up the celebrations for the month of my 5th publishing anniversary, I’m having one last giveaway for February, a signed copy of my young adult supernatural mystery novel, SIGHT, which is book 1 in the Delta Girls series. If you like shows like Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and enjoy books with mystery, suspense, humour, sisterhood and family dynamics, and young love, then you might like this series!

Below I am sharing Chapter One of SIGHT to give you a “taste” (title of Book 4, no pun intended!) 😉

Hope you enjoy, and read below to the bottom of the page for details on how to win a copy…

Sight_cover LARGE 

SIGHT (THE DELTA GIRLS #1) – CHAPTER ONE:

 

I always thought I’d spend my sixteenth birthday at home with my four sisters and closest friends having the sleepover of all sleepovers with streamers and balloons overtaking the living room, a bottomless bowl of salt and vinegar potato chips, and enough chocolate to feed a small country. We’d watch movies, pausing occasionally to drool over hot actors, before turning up the music and dancing around like lunatics. My eldest sister, Talia, and her twin, Tamara, would probably bring out their Ouija board and freak the crap out of all of us. With our nervous systems on high alert for an impending ghost visitation, it’d be more like a no sleepover. Add the fuel of excess sugar and hormones to the fire of fear, and we’d be up all night for sure.

Instead, I spent my birthday fast asleep. In a coma, to be exact. Not exactly the picture I had in mind, and I doubt the picture my sisters had in mind either. As the youngest child in the family, everyone always treated me as though I was made of fragile glass; and as one of triplets, my birthday parties were always shared with Serena and Sasha. But, for the momentous occasion of my sweet sixteenth, we were separated by my inconvenient lack of consciousness. Not so sweet after all.

I wasn’t aware of my birthday taking place, or aware of anything for that matter. I only remembered the heavy, drowsy sensation after the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face, and then everything around me faded to black. It was a risky operation, no doubt about that. I’d been given the choice of living my life with the ticking time bomb of a brain aneurysm, or having surgery to hopefully repair the damn thing, giving me the possibility of a so-called normal life. As any teenager would have done, I reached for the hope of a normal life—that Holy Grail of adolescence and the need to fit in, to be accepted, and to figure out who the heck I was. The idea of walking around with a head that could explode at any minute was about as appealing as wearing the pink sweater with a trail of fluffy pom-poms down each sleeve that Grandma knitted me two Christmas’s earlier.

I was told to expect a shocking headache on waking after the operation, but what I didn’t expect was not waking up at all. There was no headache, no lights, and no doctors and nurses hovering around me—okay, there could have been, but I wasn’t aware of them. I was trapped in a prison of darkness with no way out.

That was until the fourteenth of April, two months after being wheeled into the operating room, when a strange jolt coursed through my body. Warmth flushed my skin, and a kind of bubbly sensation tickled me from the inside; and for the first time in a long while, I saw something. The image was as clear as day; I knew it was real.

And then I opened my eyes.

 

“Did you feel that?”
“I thought I heard…”
The sound of my sisters’ voices became apparent as light soaked into my aching eyes, drowning in a thick blur of white.

“Oh my God. Savannah!”
“Quick, someone get Mom!”
I wanted so much to sit up and hug them, feel that I was indeed alive, but my muscles were deaf to my brain’s commands. At least my ears weren’t. The mismatched symphony of sounds gnawed at my eardrums, but I didn’t care. I was alive. My family was with me. The familiar click- clack of my mother’s shoes grew near, followed by her soft breath and cold palm on my face before it was quickly replaced by a sharp light protruding into my eyes.

“Savannah, can you hear me?” an unfamiliar male voice asked. “Blink twice if you can hear me.”

I blinked. Twice.

“She really is awake! Honey, it’s Mom. Everything’s going to be all right.”

“I…know.” It was as though I was speaking for the first time. The words sounded like strangers hijacking my throat as it scratched and strained in effort. It felt weird, but at the same time, it felt pretty awesome.

 

Three Months Later…

I’d forgotten how delicious ice cream was. Since my operation, eating ice cream had always been rewarded with a sharp, cold headache, but not today. Today I was rewarded with the bliss of boysenberry ripple cooling my tongue and delivering a burst of sweetness to my eager taste buds. I wiped at globs of ice cream as they dripped down my chin and giggled. Serena, my older sister by two and a half minutes, eyed me strangely.

“What?” I asked.

“Huh? Oh, nothing.” She flicked her slender hand. “It’s just good to hear you laugh again, that’s all.”

Smiling, I stepped onto the beach, reveling in the luscious, warm sand oozing between my toes. People laughed and chatted around us, children squealed and giggled, and seagulls squawked overhead; all relishing the freedom of the summer holidays. Flags marking the safe section of beach in which to swim flapped in the breeze as lifeguards watched over the crowd. The five of us dawdled along, licking our ice creams and inhaling the salty ocean air that tickled our skin as it swept around us.

Talia stopped and glanced at her feet, her wavy locks tumbling over her shoulders.

“What is it?” we asked in unison.

Bewilderment creasing her face, Talia raised her head. “I don’t know. But being here…it reminds me of something.” As though giving up trying to figure out what that something was, she shrugged, causing a spaghetti strap from her maxi dress to fall off one of her tanned shoulders. She returned it to its rightful position and we continued walking.

A dull thud knocked my head sideways a tad. “Hey!”

My gaze darted to the beach volleyballers nearby who were now missing a ball. I tucked the tip of my foot under the offending item, sharply flicked it up, and caught it in one hand. Good to know my soccer skills hadn’t died along with the aneurysm. “I’d say that shot was out,” I called across to the group of golden-skinned teenagers.

“Ya think?” a boy about my age, maybe older, replied. His hand shaded his face, but when he removed it to reveal beautifully proportioned perfection, I almost dropped the ball. And the ice cream.

Gulp. Maybe moving here away from my friends wasn’t so bad after all.

“So, are you gonna give it back or what?” He frowned. “Or can’t you throw that far?”

I’d spoken too soon. What an ass.

“Here, hold this.” I thrust my half-eaten ice cream cone into Talia’s unsuspecting hand and turned away from my sisters.

“Savannah, what’re you doing?” Sasha, my older sister by six minutes asked, lifting her sunglasses onto her forehead. “Just give the ball back.”

“Oh, I’ll give it back,” I said, confidence raising my chin. Or was it the desire for payback?

“Savvy,” said Talia, in her I’m-your-big-sister-and-I- know-what’s-best voice. “Don’t do anything stupid. The doctor warned you not to overdo it. Come back.”

She grasped my arm, but I flung her hand away. “I had an aneurysm. Had. It got fixed. I’m not a freaking invalid!” Geez, my sisters drove me mad sometimes, especially Talia. They treated me like a baby before the condition, but now it was ten times worse. They might as well have covered me in bubble wrap and attached me to a leash or something.

Talia crossed her arms and twisted her lips to one side as I approached the beach volleyballers. I stood at the corner of their makeshift court and shot a laser glare at Mr. I’m- So-Hot-It-Hurts. He stood at the ready, shifting his weight from one muscled leg to the other. Luckily, soccer wasn’t my only forte. It’d been a while since I’d played volleyball, but I remembered how to do a mean serve. And I was determined that this would be my meanest.

My eyes pinned the location I was aiming for. I stepped back on my right foot and tossed the ball in the air, meeting it on its descent with the side of my thumb as my fingers clenched into a fist. Bam! The ball went over the net toward the incredibly gorgeous and incredibly infuriating guy, who lunged for it and missed. The ball left a kind of mini UFO crop circle in its wake on the sand. Sucked in, hotshot.

“Woo-hoo!” yelled a girl on my side of the net, approaching me with a high-five. “That was awesome. You’re welcome to join us if you like.”

I glanced toward Talia who tapped at her watch as if we were running late for something. The sun reflected off the silver and I squinted at the glare. Then I held up my hand and mouthed, “Five minutes.” I turned back to the girl. “Thanks, I’d love to.”

I felt confident, powerful—alive. Hottie kept hitting the ball in my direction and only once did I miss. “I missed that on purpose,” I said. “Thought I better let you have at least one point.” He pretended to laugh, and I forced myself to look away from the silky ripple of a smile on his cheeks. I had to admit, he was pretty tough competition, but the thrill of opposing his every move sent a rush through my body I hadn’t felt in a long time. Not since… Oh. My. God.

 

I stopped. “Um, thanks guys, but I have to go now.” I waved awkwardly to the group then rushed over to my sisters who’d actually been cheering on the sidelines.

“What’s wrong, Savvy?” asked Talia, her brow furrowed.

“Nothing. But…I saw this.” I gestured toward the volleyball match. “Everything that just happened, I’ve already seen it. Back in the hospital, right before I woke up.” I placed my hands on my denim-clad hips and panted, catching my breath; from the exercise or the realization, I didn’t know which. Silence followed as they were probably trying to process what I’d said.

Talia stepped closer to me, her height making me tilt my head up slightly. She nibbled on her bottom lip as though she was trying to work out a nice way of saying, “You’re crazy, little sis.” But she didn’t. Quite the opposite, actually. “So did I. Only, I didn’t see it, I felt it. The sand giving way under my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the ice cream cones in my hands. Right before you woke up,” she confessed.

My gaze locked on her intense blue eyes. I glanced at my other sisters who shifted awkwardly on the spot. At least if they thought I was crazy, my eldest sister would share the load with me. She’d felt this moment. I’d seen it. That was a fact, crazy or not.

Serena cleared her throat and scratched her cheek. “Me too,” she whispered, stepping closer in alliance. “Moments before you woke, I heard you giggle, just like you did back there.” She pointed to the ice cream van and squinted at the sun, crinkling her freckled nose. “I thought it was just a vivid memory at the time. I also heard the pop of the volleyball against everyone’s hands, only I didn’t realize what it was until now.”

My heart rate kicked up a notch. And as though encouraged by our revelations, Sasha and Tamara looked at each other curiously and nodded.

“I could taste the ice cream,” said Tamara, tucking a curly tendril of hair behind her ear, her round cheeks rosy under the heat of the sun.

“Wow, this is unbelievable,” said Sasha. “I could smell the salty air and the sunscreen lotion.” She shivered, despite the warm temperature.

The noise of the crowds and the splash of the waves subsided like we were the only people on the beach. My sisters’ words floated through my mind, crisscrossing into a weave of realization. The five senses. One for each of us. “So what you’re saying is, you all sensed this moment, in one way or another, right before I woke up?”

They nodded.

“Holy crap.” I ran my fingers through my dark, bobbed hair until they met the hot sweat at the back of my neck. How could this be possible? “What were you doing at the time?” I asked, my mind searching for a plausible explanation.

Talia threaded her fingers together then stretched and wrung her hands. “We were thinking you might never wake up, and Serena started crying. She wouldn’t let go of your hand,” she explained.

“Then Talia put her arm around me,” Serena added, glancing briefly at our sister.

“And we all joined hands around your bed,” Talia said. “Next thing I knew, I could feel sand under my feet and this wonderful, warm sensation came over me.”

“Me too, just as I heard Savvy’s laughter in my mind,” Serena piped up. “And I felt kind of…I dunno…” She circled her hands as though trying to summon the sensation back into her body.

“Bubbly?” I asked, tilting my head a little.

Serena’s jaw opened, and she gripped her smooth, dark ponytail, which hung over her shoulder. “Exactly! As though soda was inside me, bubbling up from my toes to my head.”

“How the hell?” Tamara shook her head from side to side, her curls bouncing around her face. “Amazing.”

“Do you think it’ll ever happen again?” Sasha asked, crossing one foot over the other and placing a manicured hand on her hip.

I flashed a grin and held out my hands. “Only one way to find out.”

…….

*Copyright Juliet Madison.

…….

Read the rest of SIGHT, and all 5 Delta Girls books, here:

~ Amazon (ebook, paperback, audiobook)

~ Book Depository (paperback, free worldwide shipping)

 

deltagirls5books

 

> ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SIGHT! Plus some gemstone earrings… Head over to my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the post titled ‘GIVEAWAY!’ and dated Feb 23. Winner drawn 1st March.

DGprize

 

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A UNIQUE WAY TO TRACK YOUR WORD COUNT

Here is a post I’ve written on Writing Mojo Academy about a visual tool I use and am sharing with other writers to track word count progress! Click here to read the post and see the tool in action>> A UNIQUE WAY TO TRACK YOUR WORD COUNT

The Story of My Book: Haunted Ever After

The Escapades

by Juliet Madison

I Dedicated My Novel To A Ghost…

 I’ve always loved ghost stories, and as I’ve often experienced strong gut instincts about certain things and have learned to listen to my intuition, it’s no wonder I like writing stories with a few elements of the supernatural thrown in.

 When I started writing one of my magical romantic comedies, HAUNTED EVER AFTER, I was trying to come up with a name for my main character; a bride-to-be who becomes haunted by the wacky ghost of her fiance’s ex-girlfriend. A name popped into my mind. I liked the first name but the surname didn’t feel completely right, so I asked myself, ‘What would be a better surname?’ and instantly another one came to me.

 I Googled it and found a news article about a woman with the same name who had been murdered. Her terrifying ordeal…

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2 New Books Out Now!

April is a BIG month, not only is it my birthday month (a BIG birthday too, starting with 4 and ending in 0) but I have 3 book releases. And the first two are now available!

COLOR YOUR DREAMS and TASTE (THE DELTA GIRLS #4)!

COLOR YOUR DREAMS is my adult inspirational coloring and activity book with 100 illustrations and empowering written activities, meditations, and affirmations.

TASTE is book 4 in THE DELTA GIRLS paranormal mystery series about teen sisters, each with a psychic gift of one of the five senses.

 

BUY LINKS:

COLOR YOUR DREAMS (Buy in US stores including Walmart, or online. Aus edition available in Big W in June).

#ColorYourDreams

TASTE (THE DELTA GIRLS #4)

#TheDeltaGirls

*The Delta Girls is also available on audio via iTunes and Audible, the first 3 books are currently out and book 4 will be coming soon. 🙂

 

…Stay tuned, the next book release is Friday April 15: APRIL’S GLOW, the 4th book in my loosely linked Tarrin’s Bay series. 🙂

Happy reading and happy coloring!!

~ Juliet xo

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA: Juliet Madison

I’m talking all things CHRISTMAS at the AusRomToday blog!

AusRomToday

AusRomToday Juliet Madison

Mistletoe Madness with Juliet Madison

What are your plans for Christmas 2014?
I guess since it is fast approaching I should hurry up and make some plans! We will probably have a nice big lunch at my parents’ house with Christmas music on repeat, then everyone will have a food-induced coma-nap, then we’ll repeat the same in the evening!

Tell us about a usual Christmas in your home?
See above. 😉 Things are quite different now that we’ve moved to a new town and don’t have many relatives nearby, so Christmas is a lot less busy. It used to be about trying to squeeze in as much as possible and see as many people as possible but now it’s more about quality rather than quantity, and taking some time to relax and enjoy life and celebrate the year that’s just passed.

Any gift in particular that you’d love to see…

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NEW BOOK RELEASE! 12 Daves of Christmas

If 7 is a lucky number, then today is my lucky day (and yours!) 😉

12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS is my 7th published book and is now available! 🙂

It is a 30,000 word novella (short novel), and fits into the ‘romagic comedy’ genre – romance, magic, and comedy. It is also a bit of a tearjerker I’ve been told! But as in all my books, an uplifting ending is guaranteed.

My writer friends may relate to the heroine, Abby, a busy writer on a deadline!

Here is the blurb:

12DavesXmas_Final1920A beautiful, uplifting holiday story from bestselling author Juliet Madison about a lonely writer, her grandmother’s ghost, a road trip, and twelve different Daves.

Abby Solomon may write happy-ever-afters for a living, but doesn’t believe she’ll have her own. But then a surprise visit from her grandmother’s ghost sets her off on a journey she’ll never forget.

Grandma Charlotte wants to find her first love, Dave, who she mistakenly thought had died in World War II. A quick trawl through the Yellow Pages yields a list of twelve possibilities, and Abby and Charlotte set off on a Christmas road trip — twelve Daves over twelve days along the sun-drenched east coast of Australia.

With just over a week to make the meeting happen, Abby has to meet a dozen Daves — some sweet, some quirky, some downright dangerous — while trying to honour her book deadline and enduring the awkward challenges of having a ghost as a travelling companion.

But when she comes across a young doctor who looks like the hero in one of her novels, Abby has the chance to discover that true love transcends time and space, and that happy endings aren’t only to be found between the pages of a book.

I hope you’ll enjoy my first Christmas story, and it would make a perfect Christmas gift for friends and family! hint hint 😉 (You can gift ebooks on Amazon and iTunes etc).

It’s available worldwide from all ebook retailers. if you don’t know how to read ebooks, you can download a free reading app such as iBooks from the iTunes app store, or the Kindle reading app from Amazon. These work on smartphones, tablets, iPads, PC’s, laptops etc.

BUY:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00PFBFESM

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00PFBFESM

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PFBFESM

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/12-daves-of-christmas/id936559049?mt=11

B&N Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/12-daves-of-christmas-juliet-madison/1120836917

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/12-daves-of-christmas

All other links via Escape publishing:

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857992178

Happy Christmas reading! 🙂

~ Juliet

HOW TO BUY AND READ AN EBOOK WITHOUT AN E-READER

Not sure how to get started reading ebooks? It’s easy! And here’s how, in this blog post by Rachael Johns…

Rachael Johns

More and more authors are putting out novellas that are digital only to keep readers happy in between their longer stories. Some books will only ever be published digitally.

As I have a digital novella – TEASE ME, COWBOY – releasing next week, I thought it a fitting time to talk about HOW you can read an ebook if you don’t have a dedicated reading device.

Tease Me Cowboy Cover

I must confess I still read mostly print books. I love the feel and smell of a brand new book and I love having all my faves lined up in the bookshelf. I DON’T like the dust they gather because I think we’ve established before, I’m not a housekeeper. But I do also read books on my Kindle and now my iPad, even occasionally on my phone. But let’s forget about the Kindle e-reader for a moment and talk about HOW I could read…

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Guest blogger: Juliet Madison

I’ve got an article up on the ARRA blog today about small town settings in books…

Australian Romance Readers Association

Juliet MadisonThe appeal of small-town settings

I like to read and write books set both in small towns and in urban environments, but small towns hold a certain allure for me. They have a cosy, magical quality, and I find them intriguing. When I came up with the idea for a small-town series of books, I knew I wanted to base it on the town I had just moved to, on the south coast of NSW. I was getting used to my new home and discovering all the quirks and beauty the town had to offer, and tried my best to translate that to the page. The first book I set here was The January Wish, which led to the decision to create a monthly-themed set of books linked by the same setting, and the Tarrin’s Bay series was born. I wrote February or Forever after that, and am now…

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Juliet Madison’s “Greene” Day…plus a book giveaway

Here is what would happen if my character and I went on a ‘friend date’… Plus, you could win a copy of THE JANUARY WISH. Ends may 7th.

julietmadison

We have featured Juliet Madison at Chick Lit Central a couple of times since her debut novel, Fast Forward, came out last year. Since then, she’s written two adorably funny novellas and two sweet and romantic novels as part of her Tarrin’s Bay series. (We hope she’ll be covering every month as time goes by!) Today, she’s here to talk about the first novel from this exciting new series and to go on a friend date with the main character. She even has an e-book to give to a lucky reader anywhere in the world!

Synopsis of The January Wish:
When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and…

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Five Reasons You Should Enter The Women’s Fiction Writers Contest (Finally!)

A great opportunity for aspiring authors of women’s fiction…