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Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop

I’m taking part in Book’d Out’s Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!


FoFBetween now and midnight on the 28th January, you have the chance to win prizes from myself and all the other participating blogs (which you can see here.). I’m giving away an advanced ebook copy of my upcoming release, FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, a heartwarming story set in a small Australian coastal town.

To win, enter via the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this blog post. Contest open worldwide and winner notified via email and in the comments on this post. Good luck! 🙂

And now, for my Australia Day post:



I love the diversity of Australian fiction, and I find I’m reading more and more books by Australian authors these days, partly because many of the authors have become my friends, and partly because I relate to the Aussie voice, sense of humour, and landscape.

Whether it’s rural, coastal, or urban, it doesn’t matter – I like all kinds of Australian settings. Though I am particularly drawn to small town settings because I love the community atmosphere and close-knit relationships between characters. And that’s why I’m writing my own small town series, the Tarrin’s Bay series, to explore the many stories and characters that can be present in small towns, and bring them to life. The first book in this series, The January Wish, has just been released, and the second book (though they can be read in any order), February or Forever, is out on 1st February (but as mentioned, you could win an early copy!).

Today I thought I’d give some of my fellow authors a plug and share a few Australian books I’ve enjoyed, both recently, and in the last few years. These books are all by Australian authors, and are set in Australia.


> Rural Top Pick: JILTED by Rachael Johns

Jilted bookpage– Three words to describe it: emotional, honest, fulfilling

She left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…

After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope’s are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?


> Small Town Top Pick: HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS by Jenn J McLeod

HFAS-– Three words to describe it: clever, intriguing, original

Four women. Four lives unravelled. The truth will bind them forever.

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.

But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.

Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;

Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;

Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;

Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.

At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.

Small towns can keep big secrets…


> Romantic Suspense Top Pick: WINGS OF FEAR by Helene Young

Wings-of-Fear-Front-Cover1-184x300– Three words to describe it: riveting, well-written, intelligent

High above the crystal-blue waters of North Queensland, Captain Morgan Pentland patrols the vast Australian coastline. When Customs Agent Rafe Daniels joins her crew, she is immediately suspicious. Why is he boarding her plane when she isn’t there? And why is he asking so many questions?

What Morgan doesn’t know is that Rafe has her under surveillance. Critical information about their Border Watch operations is being leaked and she is the main suspect.

Morgan’s ex, elite police officer Carl Wiseman, is back on the scene after she finally found the courage to throw him out. Is he trying to regain Morgan’s affections of are his intentions more sinister?

When Morgan and Rafe are shot down in a tragic midair attack, they realise they have to start working together – and quickly. One of Australia’s most loved icons is the next target and they have only nine days to stop it.

Will they uncover details of the plot in time, or will the tension that is growing between them jeopardise everything?


> Thriller/Crime Top Pick: BEYOND FEAR by Jaye Ford

coverLeft– Three words to describe it: unputdownable, scary, cinematic

Imagine if your worst fears came true. . . Again.

At seventeen, Jodie Cramer survived a terrifying assault at the hands of three strangers. Her schoolmate Angie was not so lucky…

Now thirty-five, Jodie is a teacher and mother of two – and her past is a horror she’s buried deep. When she sets out for a weekend in the country with three friends, all she has in mind is a few laughs and a break from routine.

However, unknown to the four women, their secluded cabin was once the focus of a police investigation and, like Jodie, it nurtures a dark secret. As her friends relax, the isolation reawakens Jodie’s terrifying memories. When she finds evidence of trespassers, she is convinced they are being watched.

But no one will believe her and as her past threatens to overwhelm her, she begins to doubt herself – and her sanity. Until two men knock at their door …


> Coastal Romance Top Pick: NOBODY BUT HIM by Victoria Purman

19292– Three words to describe it: sexy, beachy, satisfying

She didn’t expect to run into her first love… or to fall back in love with him! 

At eighteen, Julia Jones left for the city with a head full of grand plans for an exciting life that certainly didn’t include her home town of Middle Point – a main street with a pub – or Ryan Blackburn.

But fifteen years – and a lifetime later – she’s forced to put her big city life on hold when she heads home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is where she runs smack bang into the town’s new champion… the same Ryan Blackburn. The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her. But Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse and dives into a reckless, one-time fling. What she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up, and that saying goodbye to her home town – and to Ryan – is much harder the second time around.


> Romantic Comedy Top Pick: HINDSIGHT by Sarah Belle

9689– Three words to describe it: funny, heartwarming, magical

Humour, wit, and just a touch of humility: the swinging 60s as you’ve never seen them before.

The universe has sent Juliette a sign. She wishes it had been an email instead…

Juliette’s career is on fire, her marriage and family are in melt-down, and a red-hot goddess wants her husband. But those are the least of her worries when she wakes up on her lounge room floor in the year 1961.

Without any of her modern conveniences — nanny, housekeeper, surgically attached mobile phone, designer wardrobe, and intravenous lattes — Juliette is just over fifty years out of her comfort zone. But as she takes on the role of a 1961 housewife, with gritted liberated teeth, she discovers an unexpected truth: slower doesn’t mean boring, at home doesn’t mean dull, and priorities don’t mean sacrifices.

As she finds unexpected friendships, a resuscitated love life, tragedy and triumph, Juliette begins to wonder if she really wants to return home after all.


> Women’s Fiction Top Pick: THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

Husband'sSecret_Aus– Three words to describe it: honest, interesting, compelling

A funny, heartbreaking novel of marriage, grief, love and secrets.

When her husband announces he’s in love with her best friend, painfully shy Tess picks up her young son and returns to her mother’s house. There she begins an unexpected affair with an old flame.

Rachel is a woman in her sixties consumed by grief and anger at the loss of her daughter twenty years earlier. When her son announces he is taking her beloved grandson overseas, Rachel begins a descent into deeper bitterness and pain.

Cecilia is the quintessential “I don’t know how she does it” woman. A devoted mother to three daughters, she runs her household like clockwork, is President of the P&C, owns an extremely successful Tupperware business and is happy in her fifteen-year marriage. Until she discovers a letter in their attic labelled: “To my wife Cecilia, to be opened in the event of my death”… Her husband’s secret is a bombshell beyond all imagining with repercussions across the lives of all three women.


Have you read any of these books? If not, why not check them out! What are some of your favourite Australian books? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

>>And now, to WIN an ebook copy of FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, simply click the Rafflecopter link and follow the instructions. It’s quick and easy. Remember, giveaway closes midnight Jan 28th. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

>>Once you’ve done that, head over to Book’d Out to see the list of participating blogs and enter their giveaways too!


Good luck… I’ll leave you with a brief blurb for the first two books in my Tarrin’s Bay series:

TheJanuaryWishcoverTHE 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 treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.


FoFFEBRUARY OR FOREVER: Yoga teacher and single mother, Chrissie Burns has a plan: move into the rundown beach house left to her by her deceased aunt, renovate it, sell it, and move on. The scene of a terrible accident years ago, the house needs to get out of Chrissie’s hands as soon as possible.

But Tarrin’s Bay, where the house stands, has more to offer than bad memories. The town is lovely, the people friendly, and even Chrissie’s young son finds friends and begins coming out of his shell. Employed at Serendipity Retreat as a yoga instructor, Chrissie is shocked to be given the role of private teacher to Drew Williams, Australia’s top singer/songwriter for the month.

Relationships between instructors and clients are strictly forbidden, but Drew draws happiness out of Chrissie with his down-to-earth nature and sense of humour. Days of stretching and bending may bring Chrissie unexpected peace and strength, but she knows that this interlude must end, and there’s no pose or position to aid her when Drew walks away and leaves her broken-hearted. 


TheJanuaryWishcoverTHE JANUARY WISH is now available for preorder for those that wish (hehe) to make sure their copy will arrive nice and early on release day, 1st Jan. Great timing for a New Year’s Day chill out and recovery session!

Perfect for fans of Sherryl Woods and Susan Wiggs, this book is the first in my new Tarrin’s Bay series, set in a small coastal town based on where I live on the NSW south coast, Australia.

It has lots of drama, a pinch of humour, family dynamics, secrets galore, a medical and natural health setting, and two sweet romances for the price of one. Yep, two! The story is told from three points of view: the hero, the heroine, and the heroine’s eighteen-year-old daughter. So in a way it’s an ‘Adult’ and ‘New Adult’ romance in one.

Here’s the blurb:

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 treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.

Preorder here:

The second book in this series, FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, will release straight after, on 1st Feb, so stay tuned!

And have a look on the blog every Wednesday leading up to release as I’ll be sharing an excerpt from THE JANUARY WISH each week.

Past, Present, & Future with Jenn J McLeod

In celebration of the release of my debut novel, Fast Forward, I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome another debut author, the fabulous Jenn J McLeod!


Jenn%20-%20the%20young%20author[3]1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was supposed to be a multi-disciplined musician (like my Dad), study at The Conservatorium (like my Aunt), be a famous opera singer like my cousin (whose sons – Ben and Alexander Lewis – (think Phantom!) are now making their own musical mark internationally). Instead I wrote, my keyboard of choice a computer, leaving the old upright piano to languish in the living room as I followed my labyrinthine road and wrote my own story. (Excuse me while I sing my theme song…“I did it myyyyyyy way!”)

So as the daddy longlegs weave their webs around the piano’s soundboard and strings, I weave stories that give my characters a life and a voice. My stage is country NSW, my tree change many years ago like coming home. I guess it must have been all those hours I spent in my room as a child, riding my bed-end rather than practicing piano! Yep, that’s right: a pillow for a saddle, a dressing gown tie as a bridle and voila! I was National Velvet.


2. What did you do before you became a writer?

You mean besides being National Velvet? That answer is a novel in itself. Let’s see (in order): Hairdressing, cosmetic sales, retail security (nabbing shoplifters), hotel security at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel (where I met celebrities and heard stories I can never tell), Event Management, Road Safety Education, Corporate PR & Communications, Intranet Producer, Cafe owner, B&B Operator and finally… Author.

[Juliet – what a wealth of experience to add to your stories!]


pam%20and%20me%20001[2]3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

Besides pretending to be National Velvet, you mean? 🙂 Hmm, that would be winning a national road safety award for a young driver education initiative. Here I am accepting the award with my colleague, Pam Leicester. As friends and colleagues we were a formidable team; Pam inspiring me then and more recently. (My House For All Seasons character, Sara, was inspired by Pam who is sadly no longer with us. Creating Sara allowed me to give Pam her happy ever after.)

[ Juliet – Congrats on the award! And what a nice gesture for Pam]



4. What’s your latest release about and/or what are you currently working on?

HFAS front cover workingHouse For All Seasons is now available. It is the story of four estranged school friends forced to return the NSW country town of their youth to claim an unexpected inheritance – the century-old Dandelion House.

As restless teenagers, desperate to forget a tragic end-of-school muck-up day accident, they escape the confines of small town life and never speak to each other again.

Twenty years on, coming home to the country triggers mixed emotions and the women must face their shame and self-doubt if they are to reconcile their past with their present.

Only after spending a season each in the old place – a condition of the will – do they discover the reason for the inheritance and how they are forever tied to the house and to each other.

[Juliet – what are you waiting for readers? Dash to the bookstore now! Well, after you read this interview of course ;)]


5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

A mess! I have no fixed agenda and I need to change that. I need to fit in the networking side of this business without losing entire days! I must write – not Facebook. I must write – not tweet. I must write – not blog. Oops!

[Juliet – sorry about that!]


Jenn%20J%20McLeod_fence_web[3]6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:

Right now? As in today?  As in 8 March 2013? Forgive my preoccupation, but as my debut novel has just released (with a couple five-star ratings already) I am a little dizzy (and I feel a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars acceptance speech coming on, so we’d best move on.)



7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

Fast forward! Crikey, I so wish I could go back. I would love to be doing what I am doing now as a 40 year old!

But, okay, to fast forward it would have to be to the day a book is an interactive hologram. Remember those pop-up storybooks? I loved them. I used to walk my fingers through the pages. Imagine the future: holograms that let you wander through scenes—touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling… ooh la la!

[Juliet – You’re in luck, there just might be a hologram or two in Fast Forward! Great minds huh?]


8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

A George Jetson Winnebago (ie it folds into a briefcase for easy parking).

[Juliet – Patent it NOW!]


9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

That people love my books and want more (so I can keep writing while travelling in that Winnebago.)


Thanks for visiting, Jenn, and all the best for HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS!

>>You can visit Jenn at her website/blog, facebook, and twitter. You can buy her book from all good bookstores in Australia or you can order online here at Dymocks, or as an ebook at Amazon.