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At Home With Jenn J McLeod [Interview & Aussie Giveaway!]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to fellow small town storyteller, Jenn J McLeod… And just as her stories have lots of secrets, today she has a secret of her own to share! Read on…

 

Jenn1. Hi Jenn, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I’m from a real life Calingarry Crossing. Locals in my hometown of Bonville/Sawtell certainly recognise a few landmarks in both House for all Seasons and my 2014 release, Simmering Season. A city girl by birth, I did the big sea/tree change in 2004. Lot’s of firsts followed: running a café, setting up a B&B for people who travel with their fur kids, and writing a book a year for Simon & Schuster. It’s said a rolling stone gathers no moss, so soon I will be on the move – literally – and my “new home” (“Hint”) has me feeling a little on edge, like a small pebble perched precariously on a precipice. (Like that?)

[Juliet ~ Isn’t it great to write stories set in a town based on our own? 🙂 ]

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Right now home is a small acreage, nestled in a rural hamlet south of Coffs Harbour, at the base of the Great Dividing Range, but only a ten minute drive to the beach. Apart from the stars at night, the birds all day, the peace and privacy (should I go on?) my place is like fruit salad – crammed with a dozen different fruit varieties of citrus, custard apple, lychee, mango and persimmon.  Then there’s the vegie surprise patch! I love it when a surprise sprouts out of the compost our vegie scraps produce. It all makes for a very ‘informal’ vegie garden with the most recent sprouting of pumpkin, plus the usual cherry tomato surprise plants and sweet potato!

I love harvest time. Kind of a shame I’ll be in a “new home” and not here to enjoy the winter feast. (“Another hint!” Yes, I have a secret and those who have read my books know I love secrets.)

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

Our old café, Shimmers in Sawtell, is now called Tree-O, and it is still lovely. Recently, a bunch of local-ish authors and I met at The Old Butter Factory in Bellingen. We may have to do that again.

 

IMG_16074. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

Strawberry & Daiquiri are little white fluffy rescue dogs of unknown age and origin. They are old, very naughty and spoilt rotten. But you can teach an old dog new tricks. I discovered this when my little muse, Daiquiri, lost an eye to cancer recently. So adaptable – and even more beautiful, don’t you think? [Juliet ~ Definitely. And yellow is the new black.]

I also had two budgies called Sunshine & Blue Skies. I don’t like caged birds really, but Sunshine was a tiny baby, found in the paddock next door. Too young to fly, I brought her home. Not expecting her to live, she gobbled down seed while sitting on my palm and was quite lively the next morning. When I couldn’t track down where she escaped from I had to get a mate because there’s one thing worse than a caged bird … That’s a lonely caged bird. With a loving relocation to a brand new aviary in the nursing home where my mum lived for a while, Sunshine and Blue Skies can now spread their wings – so I can spread mine soon. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ Any ideas yet, readers, about Jenn’s secret?]

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My sunroom. I could eat, work and sleep in here. I’ve always said I don’t need a big house. One room to eat, write and sleep would be fine. Guess I’m going to get it after all. (“Hint”)

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My computer (and associated bits),

My mother’s memory box,

Oh wait! Soon I won’t have to limit myself to three. I’ll just take the whole house and get out of town. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ These hints are very cleverly inserted into your answers!]

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Maybe I’ll come back in six months from now and answer that question again, Juliet.

🙂 

 

8. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I would NEVER have a chef in my kitchen. I’ve seen what they do to appliances and equipment and how they treat food. Sorry, folks, but owning a food business (because I LOVED eating out) has stopped me eating out! Next time you are deciding where to eat, don’t look at the menu, look at the floor!

[Juliet ~ I’ll keep believing that ignorance is bliss 😉 ]

 

9. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

1. Safe Harbour by Helene Young

2. Losing Kate by Kylie Kaden

3. Season of Shadow and Light – yep! That’s mine. I just received the edits for book three so reading for pleasure must give way to reading to deadline.

And I want to see a book on my TBR pile by a new yet-to-be-pubbed author Louise Allan. You can check her blog out here. Sounds like my kind of story telling. http://louise-allan.com

 

10. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Too many to mention as I clear out and downsize my pantry (among other things) discovering blasts from the past like a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers! All the rage about a decade ago with the champagne set. Who remembers them?

[Juliet ~ Though I have never used them, I do recall seeing the odd recipe with Hibiscus Flowers!]

 

11. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

We are about to find out! So I’d better clear up those “hints”. While my small towns can keep big secrets, I cannot. Time to reveal.

[Juliet ~ DRUMROLL…]

Check out the new home below:

1913247_479561268812378_2070147548_o

[Juliet ~ Congrats! Looks like you are going to have one hell of an adventure! It might inspire a new story… The Travelling Season? 😉 ]

 

12. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

My answer: Depending on the friend or relative I might choose: e) hitch up the home and hit the road!

 

Thanks for sharing all about your home life with us, Jenn! And looking forward to hearing how your new home turns out. 🙂

 

> Even though Jenn J McLeod would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website/blog : Facebook : Twitter

Or better still, everyone, tell Jenn where in this big brown land you live, especially if you have a flat block that will accommodate a caravan – at the right price! 😉 She could be coming to a town near you in the near future.

 

> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her new book, Simmering Season, here:

Forget the chef, Jenn says. Petrol money appreciated, though, so she can discover new small towns to inspire more small town stories.

[Juliet ~ You’ll have to pay a visit to my small town down south! I am four minutes walk from a caravan park and beach. Not five minutes, four. Though it’s downhill so it could become three. 😉 ]

*BUY NOW from all good Australian bookstores, or there are lots of options here for purchasing: http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Simmering-Season/Jenn-J-McLeod/9781922052070

 

Simmering Season Jenn J McLeod lgeSIMMERING SEASON

It’s summer storm season and Calingarry Crossing is sweltering.

Devoted mother, sole breadwinner, and now local publican, Maggie Lindeman is back in Calingarry Crossing with her teenage son to sell the family pub, hoping to turn their lives and finances around. The trouble is, the girl people once called Magpie is so busy protecting everyone else she has no idea the perfect storm is heading her way, until her past and present collide with the unexpected to blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets.

BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/218LziN4Ank

 

House for all Seasons Jenn J McLeod>> GIVEAWAY! Australian postal addresses only (or perhaps Jenn might deliver the prize in person!)

Prize: A copy of Jenn’s first Calingarry Crossing novel, House for all Seasons, or if you already have it, a copy of Simmering Season.

How to enter: Leave a comment and tell Jenn where you would spend a week in a caravan and why. (Can’t be 4WD-only access and no National Parks as they don’t allow dogs).

*Competition drawn on Wed 16th April and winner notified by email. You’ll have one week to confirm your prize and provide an Australian delivery address or an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!

 

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At Home With Karen E. Martin [Interview & Giveaway!]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Karen E. Martin…

 

IMG_2261_vote1. Hi Karen, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Hi, Juliet. 🙂 I’ve lived in Ohio for the last ten years or so, and grew up here as well. I spent nearly ten years living in other places, though, including Morocco, Jordan, Romania, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. I was working in the ESL field then (English as a Second Language), so I traveled around for different jobs.

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

My home is very cozy. Bright and airy, with all my favorite things displayed around the rooms (objects collected from my travels, books, mementos from childhood, and so on). The furniture is also COMFORTABLE…my sofa has been called The Couch That Sucks You In. I’ve also started developing a fairy garden in my back yard, which is really charming. Windchimes, miniature plants, sparkly suncatchers, and other little objects have been finding their way there for more than a year now. Most of them have been gifts, though some pieces I found in thrift stores or during travel.

[Juliet ~ That couch sounds great! And I want a fairy garden!]

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I love going for Sunday brunch at La Chatelaine, an atmospheric French bistro here in town. Super delish quiches and pastries, a nice frothy cappuccino, and a seat at a wrought-iron table on the vines-and-flowers patio. It’s just so…civilized.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

No pets, though we had a succession of cats and dogs when I was a kid (we lived in the country then, so plenty of space for animals to roam). I’d love to have a cat, but I travel too much to properly care for a pet.

back deck lower5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

I have a meditation room which doubles as a guest room, so it has great vibes. It’s a room full of happy memories and relaxation. I have a modest collection of inspiration pieces, pretty stones, and small pieces of artwork that I draw from to set up seasonal displays, and plenty of pillows for sitting and lounging. I try to keep it uncluttered in there so I always have a peaceful place to go and think when the rest of my life gets chaotic.

[Juliet ~ I want one of those too. 😉 ]

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My computer/external hard drive (almost all of my photos are saved there), the family jewelry I’ve inherited, and a box of hand-written journals I’ve kept from over the years (including the current one I’ve been working on for the last year and a half).

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Easy – I’d add a public transportation system that is clean, efficient, affordable, and comprehensive (goes everywhere you want it to go). I’ve spent a good bit of time in Europe, and I really miss having taxis, buses, and trains that take you everywhere. I would never own a car if I didn’t have to. (FWIW, San Francisco and D.C. were pretty darned good for public transport; having a car was a nuisance more than anything in both places.)

garden8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Romantic Comedy, Action/Adventure, or very possibly Disney/Pixar. I like anything light and uplifting. The last TV gathering I had was for the Olympics – we probably get together to watch sports more than movies. College football (regular games) and basketball (tournaments) are something my friends and family often enjoy as a group.

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Probably some traditional dishes from Morocco that I’ve never been able to replicate. Heck with the trained chef, just send me a little ol’ Berber grandmother with her couscousiere, a mud oven, and some palm fronds for kindling.

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Well, the Divergent series looks good. Mostly, I read nonfiction. I’m currently making my way through “Medicine Grove” (a book about healing herbs) and about to start “Post-Tribal Shamanism,” which was written by an acquaintance of mine.

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Soudaniyah, a sweet/hot paprika from Morocco. I brought it back from there, and use it in a lot of my dishes. Can’t find it here in the States, though it may exist by some name I don’t know here.

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Tough choice. Right now, I think I’d enjoy a year on a backwater, tropical island somewhere, with just enough infrastructure and connection to the outside world to get by. I’d walk on the beach barefoot everyday and eat the fresh-catch for dinner every night at a thatch-roof cafe on the strand. I’d sit around and drink beer with the locals and just chat, since there wouldn’t be much “entertainment” to speak of (including television). Traffic would be nonexistent (no cars), and most people would hike, bike, or boat to their next destination. I’d make my own bagels and tortillas from scratch, since they wouldn’t be available for sale anywhere on the island. And yeah…I’d love it. A place that’s simple and relaxing sounds very appealing after the last few hectic years I’ve had. [This choice may have something to do with the fact that I just visited Ilha Grande off the coast of Brazil two weeks ago, and absolutely fell in love with it.]

[Juliet ~ Simple and relaxing sounds perfect!]

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

d) Freak out. …Yeah, that really does kind of sum it up.

[Juliet ~ You and me both 😉 ]

 

> Even though Karen would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Newsletter : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads : Pinterest

 

Cover_5_31> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book, MODOGAMOUS, here:

Amazon USAmazon UK

Kate Adams has a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing. Everything is going great—until the night she crosses the line with her best friend Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. Add to the mix a spunky little pug, and things start to get crazy!

“I was hooked from the moment I began reading!” ~ “Fast paced, well written, and laugh out loud funny!”  

 

>> WIN! An ebook copy of Modogamous is up for grabs! To enter, leave a comment below (Open Worldwide). Winner notified 4th April.

Ten Awkward Questions with Elizabeth Cohen

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’! 

Please welcome Elizabeth Cohen, whose book The Hypothetical Girl was featured on Oprah.com as Book of the Week…

 

ECohen1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

The House on Beartown Road (in paperback, The Family on Beartown Road. I love my short story collection, but this memoir is about the hard and beautiful two years I spent with my baby and my father, and it is a cornerstone of my actual and writing lives.

 

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

Good Good Good listener. Love to listen. Might take notes. Might steal (be careful what you say to me).

 

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Oh no, I am NOT perfect. For sure. I will go with slob here. But only in some areas. Like the BACK of my closet. The RIGHT SIDE of my desk. That one drawer you allow to beocme complete chaos (c’mon, you have one too, admit it!). Let’s call it controlled slobbery.

 

4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

I am in LOVE with them, but not romantically. I want to buy them all chocolates and take them to really good, cathartic foreign movies and make them soup because these characters NEED A BREAK. But romantic feelings, nope.

 

newcover5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

Never. But I do dream it. Yes. First. Then write it.

 

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

Never, but I do occasionally talk to my cousin Stuey Cohen or one of my best friends, Ruth Lopez. Then they typicallly say, either—that is hysterical, priceless, or that’s sh*t, babe. I trust them completely. And for that I thank them.

 

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

HAHA. Um. Hmmmm. Julianna Margolies. It is a hair thing.

 

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, DUH.

 

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

I am going with the pen and notebook. But I would miss the gorgeous person. I think I would have to write about that.

 

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

Dear Everyone in the Whole World:

There is much you are likely upset about. Like, for example. the fact that you cannot get really good tomatoes in the winter, your toilet is clogged, that there isn’t enough water for your village, or the person you love just left you. And to that I say, welcome to the tribe of humanity. Whatever you are experiencing has been experienced before and will be again. If you take a moment to think about it, all pain is known pain, and it has all been written about beautifully.

The good news is that most bad things are temporary. That eventually you probably WILL get a good tomato, you will find water or someone nice will likely bring you some, there are these things called “snakes” that can unclog a toilet fast, and they are cheap!  As for the person who left you… They were not worth your time anyway. And the best part: You can write about all of it. You own your story. It is yours, to write or die holding secret. That is a powerful thing, if you think about it. Plus, every single night there MIGHT be a meteor shower.

Love,

Elizabeth
(whose toilet would not unclog for a month, who has eaten many really lame tomatoes, had her water pipes freeze and burst and who was left by her husband…witnessed profoundly beautiful and LONGass meteor showers …and wrote about it all).

Was that two minutes? Well, read it faster, then.

 

Thanks for taking part, Elizabeth, you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

>> WIN! Elizabeth has an ongoing 350-word love story contest at www.thehypotheticalgirl.com – click on FLASHLOVE to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Hypothetical Girl, open worldwide 🙂

>> You can also visit Elizabeth at Facebook and Twitter, and check out her book here.

Ultra-BraveAuthor

 

 

Alli Sinclair on her 3-book deal, writing, and the allure of the tango…

I’m so excited to welcome my wonderful friend and writing critique partner, Alli Sinclair to the blog today! Alli and I have known each other just over two years now, and barely a day has gone by when we haven’t communicated via facebook message, email, text, or phone! I had the pleasure of reading her book, LUNA TANGO, in manuscript stage, and can’t wait to read the finished product when it releases in print and ebook on 1st August 2014! It’s a rich, absorbing tale of dance, romance, mystery, and family ties. I know readers are going to love it. 🙂

I decided to ask Alli a few questions in honour of her first book deal. Here we go…

 

alli profile1. Congratulations on your three book deal with Harlequin Australia! How did you feel when you received your offer of publication?

Stunned is the first word that came to mind. Hubby saw my face as my amazing agent delivered the news on the telephone and he said he’d wished he’d videotaped it because my expression was priceless. Needless to say there was a lot of happy dancing and squeals of delight from the entire family!

2. Tell us about your book series and can you give us a blurb for your August release, LUNA TANGO?

Luna Tango is the first in the Dance Card series that explores dances and music that capture hearts both on and off the dance floor—Buenos Aires and the tango, Granada and the flamenco, and Paris and the Russian Ballet. With stories about love, loss, passion, and betrayal, the Dance Card Series takes readers on a journey full of colour, glitz, and dreams.

In Luna Tango, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango to expose the decades of lies and deception that threaten three generations of her family. She’s desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, why her grandma lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in 1950s Buenos Aires now affects her family.

Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero, a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion, who helps her unravel tango’s sordid history. Despite Dani’s lack of rhythm, they create their own dance of the souls until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, tango – the dance of passion – becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.

Tango-credit--CarlosLuque3. What made you want to write a dance series?

That’s an excellent question and does it sound lame to say I’m not really sure? I grew up with dance and was surrounded by it when I lived in South America so it felt like a natural progression to write about something I love.

4. If you could tango with anyone in the world, who would it be? (I think I know the answer to this!)

You really need to ask this question? Who else but the man who inspired the character of Carlos in Luna Tango – Gilles Marini!

5. Your book has a present day timeline intertwined with a historical timeline. Did you face any challenges writing a dual timeline book? 

It can be a challenge tying up loose ends from the historical timeline into the present-day, but my eagle-eyed critique partners, agent, and editors make sure none get missed! I truly believe it takes a village to write a book!

6. What would you say to aspiring authors who are struggling to get published and feel like giving up?

Try it. Give up for a week, or a month – set a time limit – and see how you feel. If you’re itching to get back to the desk then you’re a writer through and through. This is a tough business and we spend hours, months, years honing our skills and receiving rejection after rejection so the only thing that keeps us going is our love for telling stories and the  hope that one day we can share that passion. If you know you are born to do this then giving up will be the hardest thing you could ever do and that will be the perfect sign for you to continue with your dream. I am all about people pursuing their goals and reaching for the stars!

7. What is your favourite dance movie?

Ohhh…. that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! No fair! Anything with Gene Kelly (I’m a sucker for Hollywood musicals), Dirty Dancing (that one’s for you, Juliet!), Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, and… and… there’s too many to mention!

8. What are you most looking forward to about being a debut novelist?

Apart from holding my book baby in my hands? Sharing my characters with the world and giving readers a chance to go on a journey to an exotic destination and experience what it’s like to fall in love with tango.

9. You have a love of history and culture, what is your favourite place in the world, and if you could spend a year living in any time period which would you choose?

Another “pick your favourite child” question! But I have to say Buenos Aires, Argentina is my number one place in the world and has been since I first travelled there in 1995. And as for time period, 1920s Buenos Aires because that is when tango came back from Europe as a “civilised” dance, rather than frowned upon by Argentines like it was many years prior. That must have been an amazing time to see the elite Argentines finally embracing a dance that was once considered “uncouth”.

10. What do you hope readers will get out of reading LUNA TANGO?

An experience that triggers many emotions and inspires the reader to get on the next plane to Argentina or book into a tango class!

11. How can readers connect with you or keep updated on your upcoming release?

12. And lastly, would you like to share your book trailer with us?

Of course! A very talented friend, Sean McGee composed the music and some incredibly clever photographers contributed to the trailer. View the trailer HERE.

Thanks Alli! I can’t wait to see the cover for LUNA TANGO when it’s available, and can’t wait for August! 🙂

*Photo credit of tango: Carlos Luque, wikimedia commons

 

At Home With… Margareta Osborn [Author Interview & Giveaway]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Australian rural romance author Margareta Osborn! She’s also giving away an ebook copy of her new release, Mountain Ash, to someone in Aus or NZ – read on for details…

 

Author photo1. Hi Margareta, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Hi Juliet. I’m a fifth generation farmer from East Gippsland in Victoria. My family have called the Macalister Valley home since the mid 1800’s so you could say the Osborn’s are a tad entrenched in our neck of the woods. In my twenties and early thirties I moved away on occasions, spending time on other properties both here in Gippsland and up north, but I kept coming back over that cattlegrid leading to home, which I’m sure must’ve driven my father nuts 🙂

My husband and I, along with our three children, now have a beef property in the foothills.

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Beautiful property picI love the evocative, yet solid, sense of place, of belonging, of being part of a community where our history goes back so many generations. It gives us strong roots, a very real and grounded place to call home.

Also, the mountains and the sea are all within an hour of us so it doesn’t matter whether you prefer the high country or the ocean, just make a selection and you can be there without driving all day. We have the best of all worlds here in the eastern part of Victoria.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

Oh golly. That’s tough. I don’t do restaurants, cafe’s and such. Ummm … probably the Newry pub for a good old-fashioned family meal or the Tinamba Hotel for more upmarket dining. There’s also a fabulous winery just down the road from our farm called ‘Blue Gables’. They make the most fabulous wood fired pizzas!

 

JM Blog - Me with Echo4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

Lucy, my dog. She’s a Jack Russell, Papillion Cross and she’s one of my best mates. You’ll find her about a foot from my work boot all day long. I also have a beautiful, old ex-buck-jumping mare called Echo. She is my sanity. When the world of books, kids, cattle and life in general gets too much, Echo is my ‘ride out of town.’

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

As we have just moved farms it’s a little hard for me to answer that one. I haven’t decided yet. Can I say that the hill just 20 metres from the homestead is currently my favourite place? Why you ask? Because this is where my writing shack will be built. It has 360 degree views of rolling hills, Lake Glenmaggie and out across the irrigation flats, depending on which direction you look. It is stunning and my husband’s working out how he can make me a writing hut that rotates. That’ll be something to see!

[Juliet ~ a rotating writing hut? Wow! Though I hope you won’t get dizzy 😉 ]

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My hearing aids (worn them since I was seven and can hear pretty much zip without them :)), photo’s and the jewellery box my Dad gave me. In that order.

 

JM Blog - photo of Glenmaggie weir7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Blow the garden (which is a dust bowl at the minute), the house (it’ll survive), the area where I live (they’ll survive too), I’d pack the family in the Landcruiser and head north with that wand and wave it over the drought affected parts of NSW and QLD. Those poor people are in diabolical trouble.

[Juliet ~ Good idea.]

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

The Man from Snowy River (because I LOVE it) or 27 Dresses because everyone tells me its great but be damned if I can find it to hire.

[Juliet ~ 27 Dresses IS a lot of fun!]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Lol. If a fancy chef managed drive all the way out to our farm, he can cook ANYTHING he likes!

 

JM Blog - Me & Lucy10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Cicada – Moira McKinnon

A Savage Garden – Chris Muir

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles – Katherine Pancol

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Cattle vaccine

[Juliet ~ you have something in common with Alissa Callen 😉 ]

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Northern Territory or Northern outback QLD in the wet.

or

Canada or Montana – I’d love to see the differences in farming here to farming there.

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

 

Well first up they don’t usually ring, they just arrive. But If Lucy barks her ‘someone’s here bark’ as distinct from ‘there’s a rabbit/wombat/roo and I’m gunna chase it’ bark, you have time to do C) minus checking the reflection in the mirror. It’s best not to do that. I’d frighten myself on a normal workday!

🙂

 

> Even though Margareta would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : FacebookTwitterGoodreads

> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her new book, Mountain Ash, here.

 

MAcoverMountain Ash 

From bestselling author Margareta Osborn comes another scintillating rural romance with a devastating love triangle twist.

After years of struggling as a single mother, Jodie Ashton has given up on love and passion. What she craves now is security for herself and her beloved daughter Milly. And marriage to widower Alex McGregor, the owner of the prosperous Glenevelyn cattle station in East Gippsland, will certainly offer that. If only he wasn’t so much older and so controlling.

Needing space to decide her future, Jodie reluctantly agrees to a girls-only weekend at the Riverton rodeo …

Meanwhile, cowboy Nate McGregor vows off women, after his latest one-night stand costs him his job in the Northern Territory. Perhaps it’s time to head back to his family home, Glenevelyn, to check out for himself the ‘gold-digger’ his father seems determined to marry.

But first, on his way through Riverton, he plans to stop off at a rodeo.

Two lives are about to collide in one passionate moment – with devastating results…

…See more here.

 

> MOUNTAIN ASH is also Random House’s MARCH BOOK OF THE MONTH. You can access reading questions here.  

> Should your book group decide to read and review MOUNTAIN ASH, check out this offer!

 

>> WIN! an ebook copy of MOUNTAIN ASH (available to Aus/NZ readers only): Simply comment below for a chance to win. Winner drawn and notified on Friday 14th March. 🙂 

MObooks

At Home With… Whitney KE [Author Interview]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to author of rural romance and books set in Ireland, Whitney KE!

 

DeceiveMeInIreland_LRG1. Hi Whitney where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I’m from Newcastle, NSW, and I have lived here for fourteen years. 🙂

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

I love the beaches. And I also love that I don’t have to go far to be in the country.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I have two. Goldbergs and Zinc on Darby. Love them both.  Good coffee and great food.

 

7559_10202372589250275_779079237_n4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? (Feel free to share a photo)

I have a mini foxie (who also has a coffee addiction) and a 18 year old Thoroughbred Gelding who keeps me on my toes.

[Juliet ~ cute, and beautiful!]

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My bedroom. I do all my thinking and creating there. Most of my writing is done there and I love to read in bed.

[Juliet ~ me too!]

1501760_10202343376199967_6686965_n

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My USB (has all my writing on it, photos from my trip overseas), my pop’s medals and maybe the signed copies of my favourite books (which would make that more than three…)

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

The distance from my house to the beach and Darby Street hehe!

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Bridget Jones’ Diary. Or anything with Meryl Streep in it. I love Meryl!

[Juliet ~ sounds good to me! Have you heard of The Meryl Streep Movie Club book?]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

God… I’m terribly boring with food. I love a good steak! But I have no idea. I’m not a cook. I’d tell them to surprise me.

 

10. Name a book on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

The Girl in the Hard Hat by Loretta Hill.

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Nothing? Like literally nothing hehe. I need to go shopping.

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Dublin, Ireland. Of course.

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

 My friends know me. I’ll boil the kettle when they are here as good company is always a great excuse for coffee.

 

>> Even though Whitney would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website/blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads

>> And help her pay for that in-house chef by buying a copy of her book, DECEIVE ME IN IRELAND, here:

Deceive Me in Ireland is available in ebook on  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Itunes, Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks, published by Secret Cravings Publishing.

DeceiveMeInIreland_LRG“Never call a Kerry man a fool until you’re sure he’s not a rogue.”
Her cousin, Kate had warned her about the Irish charm. And Cara had been foolish enough to ignore her. In Ireland to be Maid of Honor in Kate’s wedding, Cara hasn’t a clue that the handsome Irishman who is seated next to her is the infamous brother of her cousin’s fiancé. And William O’Reilly doesn’t plan on telling her. Not yet, anyway.

Silver-tongued and devilishly handsome, William had Cara wondering if he is the same man she met on the plane. Should she give him a chance or heed her cousin’s warning and keep him at a distance? 

The same unique and quirky characters from What Happens in Ireland come together again to celebrate the wedding of Kate and Jack in the fresh and humorous sequel, Deceive Me in Ireland. 

Like Kate Barrow, her cousin Cara discovers that resisting the charms of an Irishman isn’t as easy as it seems. William O’Reilly is as silver-tongued as his brother, Jack and determined to make the woman realize his worth. And her own.

At Home With… Ann B Harrison [Author Interview]

To celebrate the launch of my new series with THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER now available, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Ann B Harrison!

 

AnnBHarrison1. Hi Ann B Harrison, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in the beautiful Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

I’m surrounded by wineries, rolling hills and fabulous gardens. That does it for me.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I love http://www.huntervalleygardens.com.au/ We go to the snow festival in the middle of the year and I take every visitor I get to spend time in the gardens or check out the chocolate factory.

[Juliet ~ I was a bridesmaid at a wedding there. Beautiful place!]

 

zac4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? 

I have three dogs and a multitude of chickens. My oldest boy Zac has had trouble with his little googly eyes and had to have one removed. Here he is before the trouble started.

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My office. I can lock myself away from the family and put on my music – usually Pink on the earphones – and write to my hearts content. It is the one room that nobody is allowed to touch.

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My laptop, my bag of heritage seeds and iPad.

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

The wind. I love it some days but lately, we have almost been blown away.

[Juliet ~ I’m the same! It can get very windy here on the coast]

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

I’ve just watched Whitehouse Down and loved it. The next one I want to see and I believe it’s out soon, is Thanks for Sharing, starring Pink. (Can you tell I have girl crush on her?)

[Juliet ~ I really enjoyed Whitehouse Down too.]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

It has to be something healthy for me. I’m a salad girl and prefer fish or chicken to red meat. Bit partial to a dessert too.

 

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

I have hundreds. Presently reading the ARC of Gina Maxwells’ Fighting for Irish, Rome by Jay Crownover, Fallen Crest Public by Tijan.

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Dog injections for arthritis. Is that weird enough? I have an old lab who needs a shot every month.

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Scotland, I need my share of men in kilts.

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

C for sure but I’d probably forget to look in the mirror.

 

>> Even though Ann would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads : Pinterest

>> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book, COMING HOME, here:

Amazon.

 

20429535COMING HOME—but is the price too high for the Williams siblings? 
Their father drove them away, now the conditions of his will are forcing them home and they may not like the rules he’s set. 
The city hasn’t been kind to Doctor Russ Williams and he can’t wait to leave his broken marriage behind him. Superstar rugby player Cade, his career threatened by a crippling injury, has to face the fact that his glory days might be over. Rooney, carrying a secret she won’t be able to hide if she returns but lured by the promise of owning a vet practice. Three very different siblings with their own dreams, forced to face reality on the family property, confronted at every turn by their past. Will there be time for love? 

At Home With… Jane Linfoot [Author Interview]

To celebrate the launch of my new Tarrin’s Bay series with THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER now available, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Jane Linfoot!

 

cover34922-medium1. Hi Jane, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I’m in Matlock Bath, in Derbyshire, UK. It’s a Georgian Spa Resort, built in the Derwent Gorge, and I’ve lived here for seventeen years.

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

I love how homely and welcoming my cottage is – it was built in 1755. I love living at the top of a hill, and I love that it feels as if I’m in the country, with cows going past the garden, and woods to walk out into, and yet it’s only a five minute drive from a station and a town with lots of people.

[Juliet ~ Sounds lovely!]

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I have to say that I love Bow Boutique in Matlock. It has so many lovely things, great style, and it’s fab that it’s also opened as a café now too! Pop onto the website, for pics, and you’ll get what I’m saying.

 

pic14. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

I have Yoyo, a ten year old, Old English Sheepdog with a hint of something else in her, and two cats, Tinkerbell, who is seventeen, sleek, and grey and white, and Umberto, who is fifteen, orange, and rather tubby!

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

The kitchen is my favourite room, because that’s where the Aga is – great for bottom warming – and from the window I get a view right down the valley, and away to the distant hills.

[Juliet ~ I confess, I had to look up what an Aga is! I’ve learned something new today 😉 ]

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

I’d take a box of photos of the children growing up, my laptop, and my grandmother’s black satin high heeled dancing shoes!

 

pic27. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

I’d cut a lot of trees down – over-grown self-seeded trees are a big problem here!

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Anything french, any rom com….

[Juliet ~ Or a French rom com perhaps!]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Wow! Fabulous! If he didn’t have any suggestions himself, I’d request salade Perigourdine, bouillabaisse, and plum and almond tart.

 

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane, The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke, Summer of Surrender by Zara Stoneley

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Eye drops!

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Nepal or Provence, France

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

Probably d – unless things are SO bad it isn’t worth rushing, so then it would be c!

 

>> Even though Jane would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter

>> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book here:

Amazon / Amazon UK / Other links at Harper Impulse

 

cover34922-mediumHow to Win A Guy In 10 Dates 

The 10 Date Challenge

Day 1: Take one loaded commitment-phobe explosives expert, embarking on the impossible–a challenge to have ten dates with one woman.

Day 5: Add in a fiercely independent and feisty burlesque teacher who has sworn off men.

Day 10: She’s so not his type and he’s so not in her life-plan. But the heat is sizzling and the attraction is explosive. And they’re fighting it all the way….

At Home With… Darlene Fredette, author of One Sweet Christmas

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to my fellow Escape author and one of my first ever ‘writing’ friends, Darlene Fredette! I recently finished reading her novella ONE SWEET CHRISTMAS and let me tell you it was one sweet read! 🙂

 

One Sweet Xmas Final Cover1. Hi Darlene Fredette, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in Nova Scotia, the East Coat of Canada, and have lived here all my life. The summers are great, but the winters are cold and too long.

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

It’s a beautiful province. My favourite area to visit is the Valley.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

We’ve just recently found a little shop called Wheatons, which has lots of great stuff from knick-knacks, jewellery, bath and body items, and they also carry my favourite line of hot chocolate!

[Juliet ~ Hot chocolate must be an essential item during your long winters!]

 

4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

I have a six year old Yellow Labrador. His name is Jagger, and yes…he’s named after Mick Jagger. My husband is a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. My baby boy weighs in over 90 pounds, but he still thinks he’s a lap dog, and believes he is human.

[Juliet ~ Does he have the moves like Jaggar? Your dog, not your husband. Well, maybe both. ;)]

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

We’ve recently changed the living room around. I love to sit in my recliner, wrapped in my soft blanket, and watch a good movie or read. I also get my laptop out and work on my latest WIP.

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

Let’s hope that never happens, but of course family first, then all the USB sticks that hold family photos and my writings, my daughter’s cell phone to reach family, and a jacket because it’s damn cold out there.

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

For the house, I would add a second level. We’d have bedrooms upstairs…with large walk-in closets. For the town, it would be warmer weather <smile>.

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Any movie with Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Jason Statham, Chris Hemsworth, Bruce Willis, Robert Deniro, John Cusack, and so many more. We like action/adventure! My daughter and I also love to watch animated movies.

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

As long as I’m not cooking and there aren’t a lot of vegetables involved, I’m game for anything. However, my favourites are pasta, chicken, and roast beef.

 

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

I have many to be read, but the top three are: The Good Wife by Jane Porter, Fast Forward by Juliet Madison (which I just downloaded!), and Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (which comes out January 2014).

[Juliet ~ Let me know what Fast Forward is like and if you think I would like it ;)]

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

We don’t really have anything unusual, but in the fridge we have lots of juices. My daughter makes a mean Pina Clintada, which has orange juice, pineapple juice, and sprite. Depending on my mood, I add a shot of coconut rum to mine, yum!

 

k 01912. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Australia and it would be during the Canadian winter, lol!

[Juliet ~ Hope to see you here one day! I’ll save you a warm spot of beach.]

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

 

None of the above. My house is cleaned every morning. It’s my morning ritual before going to work. I’m a terrible hostess…just ask my family. So my only answer would be: Comb my hair.

[Juliet ~ If you do visit Australia I’m more than happy for you to continue your morning housework ritual at my place ;)] 

 

Thanks Darlene, and Merry Christmas!

> Even though Darlene would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads

 

> And help her pay for that in-house chef by buying a copy of her book here:

Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857991058

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00G2UXCNE 

Read reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18656524-one-sweet-christmas

 

ONE SWEET CHRISTMAS

It’s going to take more than a few pieces of chocolate to fill this Scrooge’s heart with Christmas cheer. Luckily Candice Cane has a whole shop full…

Candice Cane is not proud of the way she acted after her last encounter with Jackson Frost. Sure revenge was fun, but it’s left Jackson standing, angry and looking for answers, on the welcome mat in her chocolate shop. Now he’s after some revenge of his own. 

Jackson returned to his small hometown for one reason and one reason only…so he’s not sure how he’s ended up in a Santa suit in the middle of a chocolate shop, at the behest of its beautiful owner, instead of high-tailing it back to the city as fast as he can. 

Jackson wants nothing to do with his small town past, but Candice shows him what he didn’t even know he’d been missing. Can a bit of Christmas magic heal old wounds and offer up a future neither saw coming?

At Home With… Alissa Callen

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to rural romance author Alissa Callen!

 

Alissa Callen x1. Hi Alissa, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in the red earth country of central western NSW near Dubbo. We used to live two hours further west but have been in Dubbo for the past sixteen years. Where does the time go?

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

We live on a small slice of rural Australia and I love everything associated with life on a farm. I have four children so really appreciate the unlimited space, the local sense of community and the chance for my kids to grow up away from a computer screen.

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

My favourite café actually comes from a neighbouring country town called Orange. The toasted BLT’s are sublime along with the home made gingerbread biscuits that arrive with your coffee. http://byngstreet.com.au/

IMGP34184. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

We have two dogs, Dusty, a red-heeler cross, and Milly, a Jack Russell who has a rap sheet at the local vets an arm long. She’s been bitten by a brown snake, electrocuted, had a grass seed in her eye and eaten rat bait from the feed shed. We also have a thoroughbred called Big Bad Banjo and the obligatory small grey pony, called Gidget. All our pets are much loved and spoilt rotten.

[Juliet ~ Milly, what a trooper!]

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

Can I say an outdoor room? I love my rose garden. I have over 100 roses and a trellis of Pierre de Ronsards that creates a beautiful living wall every summer.

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

We very nearly had to this last summer when we had a grassfire in our front paddock. My top three things to grab were the kids photo albums, the filing cabinet draw with birth certificates etc and the usb containing my latest rural.

IMG_0307 a

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

In a perfect world I’d love there to be more local employment opportunities for country kids so they didn’t have to head to the city or to the mines for work.

horse 1 a8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

My youngest calls our family favourite movie the Mr Darcy Show, but it actually is the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

[Juliet ~ Lol, the Mr Darcy show. Now there’s an idea!]

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I’d forgo the dinner party for a month’s worth of dinners that could be put into the freezer!!

[Juliet ~ ahh, very practical!]

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Both my husband and my kids have worked out how good it is to read on an ipad so at the moment the three books at the top of the ipad list are:  The Booger Book: Pick It. Lick it. Roll it. Flick it. (for the 12 year old Little Farmer), The Silver Brumby (for Miss Mini Farmer) and Blood Secret – Jaye Ford (for Big Farmer).

[Juliet ~ LOL again! Can’t say The Booger Book is on my TBR pile but Blood Secret definitely is.]

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Cattle vaccine.

[Juliet ~ Loving this interview. Can’t say I’ve ever had cattle vaccine in my fridge either. ;)]

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

There are too many fabulous destinations to choose from – have been lucky enough live overseas and every country has their own unique culture, cuisine, history, natural beauty and attractions.

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

LOL – me: d)

Laid back Big Farmer: a)

 

Thanks Alissa!

>> Even though Alissa Callen would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Goodreads 

 

>> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her books here:

 

Book cover RHBeneath Outback Skies – Buy here.

Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile.

Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…

It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…

 

What Love_cvr smallWhat Love Sounds Like – Buy here.

Outback speech pathologist, Mia Windsor, believes her morning from hell is over. Then suited-up, city-boy Kade Reid strides into her office and announces he and his wide-eyed niece are the clients that she will be living with for the fortnight.

Kade Reid adheres to a single edict — money is as important as breathing. But when he becomes an instant father to four-year-old Tilly, he escapes to the only place he was allowed to be a child…the family property of Berrilea.

As Mia and Kade work together to help Tilly overcome her speech delay, can they face their fears in order to give Tilly the family she so desperately needs?