In honour of ANZAC Day here in Australia, I’m sharing a scene from my latest Tarrin’s Bay novel APRIL’S GLOW, about a reclusive ex-soldier who moves into the house next door to April, a bubbly but troubled woman who helps to bring him out of his shell, and in doing so, helps her to face her own past.
A man in an Akubra hat met her at the rocky lookout, along with a few other people who were setting up some of the displays and seating for the service. She was instructed on where to bring the candles and he gave her a rundown of the proceedings. The sun was low and glary, and the strong breeze pushed around them like an annoyingly overconfident sales person. As he spoke about a friend of a friend’s grandfather’s time in the war, the contrast to where they now stood was so strong she felt unworthy of being there. In this beautiful place, this safe town, this beautiful natural landscape.
‘We’re lucky, eh?’ he said, glancing around the horizon where the deep blue of the ocean merged with the sky.
He eyed her leg, the ankle of her prosthesis visible under the hem of her long skirt. ‘How long’s it been?’ He gestured downwards.
‘Two and a half years.’
‘Not an ex-soldier, are you?’ He raised his eyebrows.
She chuckled. ‘Me? I wouldn’t cut it as a soldier. No, it was a car accident.’
‘Sorry to hear, love. Guess you’ve got to count your blessings.’
She’d heard that and its variations many times after that awful day, when the reality of being an amputee, among other trauma, had driven her deep into depression.
‘At least you survived.’
‘At least it was only below the knee.’
‘At least it wasn’t your right arm.’
And she knew they were thinking: ‘At least you weren’t paralysed from the neck down like Kyle.’
Kyle. He was the unlucky one. What if she had been sitting in his seat in the car? She shuddered to think of the possibility. He would have been her husband by now. But a drunk driver had changed that for them. And if she hadn’t been adjusting the volume on the car CD player and singing along, maybe she would have been able to react faster to the car coming towards their side who’d run a red light. Maybe less damage would have occurred had she been able to brake sooner, or swerve more sharply. Maybe then the impact would have been one inch further away from Kyle’s spinal cord.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
She would have stayed with him. She’d committed to being his fiancée and future wife. But his family said no, and once he was able to communicate clearly, he’d said no too. He’d wanted her as his wife, not his full-time carer. Maybe if he’d been a paraplegic, but quadriplegic? She’d known it would be incredibly difficult, especially with her own injury to recover from, but the accident hadn’t killed her love for him. Though he survived, she hadn’t only lost her leg that day, but her man. Her future. Life had dealt her a new one, and she was still figuring it out.
‘I have a lot to be thankful for,’ April said to the man, and before he could ask any more questions, she thanked him for his time and confirmed she’d arrive early to set up the candles.
* * *
The atmosphere the following morning was far removed from what it had been the day before. The sun had not yet splashed the sky with its glow, and the moon over the ocean created an eerie presence. Her candles, most held by the many attendees, and others framing the staged memorial area around the microphone and podium, glimmered in the sporadic breeze, the flames protected by their tall heatproof casing. A universal symbol of hope. Remembrance.
As names of soldiers were called out, and prayers and poems recited, she thought of Zac and wondered what sort of poetry he wrote. She’d never been into poetry, but hearing special words spoken into the dim expanse of Lookout Point, the sound of waves crashing and rolling beneath as their background music, she realised its power, its potential. It was a way to make sense of what had been, give structure to the chaos that had occurred, and immortalise the heroes who had perhaps stood here many years gone by, dreaming of a future they never got to experience.
Yes, she was lucky. She may not have got the future she’d planned, but she had a future.
When the service had ended and the early sun warmed the air and started waking up the town, April glanced down towards the harbour on her left, and saw him. Zac. In the distance, standing alone on one of the piers. Why had he not come up to take part in the service? She walked down the hill. Maybe they’d cross paths on her way back home. But by the time she got to the bottom he was already walking further ahead, going the long way around, towards the beach instead of the town.
Probably best. She would go home and make use of her rare day off while the shop was closed for Anzac Day. He’d go to his place and do his own thing, and they need never be more than courteous but distant neighbours. Later on she’d join some of the locals at the pub for dinner. Her mum wouldn’t be there though, she boycotted pubs. She would catch up with her for lunch tomorrow instead.
After chatting to some locals in Miracle Park on the way home, April arrived back in her street and found Zac planting a small tree in his front garden.
‘Poet and a gardener, huh?’ she said, stopping in front of his house. So much for leaving him to his own devices, her mouth didn’t like to cooperate with her brain. ‘I’ll leave you to it,’ she added, about to walk off.
‘Wait,’ he said.
She looked at his face, his eyes tight and squinting in the morning glare.
‘I’ve got something for you.’
‘Another cloud candle?’ April glanced upwards.
‘No. Something you can actually take with you. Into your house, I mean, not when you die.’
She tilted her head. She didn’t know how to respond to that.
‘Sorry. I’m sure you’ll live a long healthy life. I’m just saying. You know, after our conversation a couple of weeks ago.’
‘That we can’t take material possessions with us when we die, yes. I remember.’
‘It’s inside.’ He brushed soil from his bare hands and walked towards the front door. April followed, but hung about on the porch. A subtle glow caught her eye and she peered into his house, noticing the fireplace. But it wasn’t lit, the candle on the mantle above was. The cinnamon candle.
‘I’m glad the candle is getting put to good use,’ she said. ‘But they look nicer when lit at night.’
Zac wandered to the mantle. ‘I know. But I thought today would be good.’
‘Because of Anzac Day?’
He nodded, and before she knew what she was doing she had stepped into his house without asking permission. ‘Is that you?’ She pointed to a photo of two kids. She recognised the shape of his jaw, even in the youthful roundness of the child’s face. She looked back to the door she’d stepped through. ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t barge in. My legs and my mouth have a mind of their own.’
He chuckled. ‘It’s okay. Yes, that’s me and my friend.’
April’s gaze wandered to the photo next to it. ‘And all grown up. Same friend?’
He nodded. ‘Yep.’
‘You’re a soldier?’ It made sense. His commanding presence and posture. His tattoos, the intensity and seriousness he sometimes had. When he wasn’t chuckling or commenting on how she was ‘amusing to watch’.
‘How long have you been off duty?’
Zac glanced up to the roof. ‘Almost three years now.’
‘Wow. You must have seen a lot. I mean, I don’t need to know, but … is that why my prosthesis didn’t shock you?’
‘I’ve seen much worse.’
‘I can imagine. Although I can’t. Not really. I won’t begin to even … I should stop talking. I’ll stop talking.’ She turned away from his gaze and brushed her hair from her face.
‘It’s okay, April.’
She narrowed her eyes a little. ‘I saw you, at the harbour. You weren’t at the dawn service?’
He shook his head and slid his hands into his pockets. ‘Prefer to honour the men in my own way. And also, it’s …’ He ran his hand across his short hair. ‘Doesn’t matter. Oh, your gift.’ He went to the kitchen.
April furrowed her brow. ‘What is this gift you speak of?’
He held out his hand, a small seashell resting on his palm. ‘Found it when I was walking over the sand dunes. Made me think of you for some reason. I think because it has these little speckles on it, like cinnamon.’
April took the shell and studied it with a smile. Golden brown specks were scattered across it like freckles. And one edge of the shell was broken off. There was also a larger patch of golden brown near the centre, like a birthmark. ‘It’s unique,’ she said. ‘I like it. Thanks.’
‘Don’t thank me, thank Mother Nature.’
‘Okay then. Thanks Mother Nature,’ she spoke loudly in case Mother Nature couldn’t hear her from within the confines of this man-made enclosure.
Maybe the reason why Zac had been distant the past two weeks was because of what today represented, and it triggered memories for him. Painful memories, just like the month of September did for her. ‘Sorry if I’ve been a nosy neighbour, pestering you about what you do and how you pay your bills. I’ll mind my own business now and try to be normal. So, if you need to borrow a cup of sugar anytime, let me know.’ She laughed.
‘I don’t use sugar,’ Zac replied.
‘Oh. Then if you need to borrow a cup of … Sugar substitute? Chia seeds? Or … coffee?’
‘I’ll be sure to remember your offer.’ He grinned, then walked April to the door.
Before stepping off the porch she turned to face him, his eyes grey and tired-looking, like he hadn’t had enough sleep. Which if he’d been up since before dawn like she’d been, he hadn’t. ‘Hey, a few of us will be at the pub tonight for dinner, if you’d like to come?’
Zac took a step back. ‘Um. Thanks. But I’ll pass.’
‘Okay, but if you change your mind, let me know.’
He scratched his head, and his mouth opened like he wanted to say something, but no sound came out.
‘Well, I’ll be off.’
‘April.’ He lightly touched her arm and she glanced down at his hand. He had nice hands.
‘Thanks for the offer. It’s nice of you. But the reason I can’t is, well …’ He nibbled one corner of his lip. ‘It’s a bit embarrassing, really.’ He rubbed the back of his neck.
‘What is?’ she asked. ‘That you don’t want to be seen in such a state of obvious self neglect with your unimpressive physique and unshaven face? And those tattoos, I mean, you look like a badass. People might get scared.’ She nudged him with a wink.
Zac smiled. ‘Yeah, I’ve let myself go. Too many meat pies.’ He patted his belly that clearly received no less than a couple of hundred or more crunches per day. ‘Nah, the thing is, and I haven’t told anyone this, except for … anyway, the thing is, I have a mild case of agoraphobia.’ A slight hint of pink coloured his cheeks. ‘Crowds. I just can’t do them. It’s hard to explain. I need quiet. Not too many people around. A pub, or any similar place, it’s … I’m not quite there yet.’ He lowered his gaze and lifted the edge of his doormat with his foot.
April felt a surge of pity for the guy. Well, not pity so much as sadness. A man like him, in his prime, clearly traumatised by things in his past … of course it was understandable that the war would have affected him in some way. He didn’t appear to have any physical injuries, but maybe he had post-traumatic stress disorder, or maybe the crowds and open spaces just triggered anxiety for some reason.
April touched his arm as he had hers. Somehow, it felt both rough and smooth at the same time. ‘I understand. No problem.’ She offered a small smile. ‘Thanks for telling me.’
She gave a small wave and stepped off the porch, but as per usual, she thought of another thing to say and had to turn around again. ‘You know what? I feel like eating in tonight.’ April put her hands on her hips and surveyed Zac’s front garden. ‘Care to join me?’
Zac’s eyebrows shot up. ‘You’re inviting me over for dinner?’
‘Looks that way. I can pick something up, or find something to whip up.’
He rubbed his chin. ‘The thing is, I’ve already defrosted some chicken for tonight. How about you join me here instead?’
Now April’s eyebrows rose. ‘You’re going to cook for me?’
‘No, you can cook. I’ll just provide the ingredients and kitchen facilities.’
She eyed his unchanged facial expression.
‘I’m kidding,’ he chuckled. ‘You can clean up instead.’
April laughed and warmth spread throughout her cheeks.
‘Seriously, I’ve got it covered.’ He held up his hands. ‘Just come over when the sun goes down.’
‘You’ve got yourself a deal.’ She gave a nod. ‘Would Juliet like Romeo to join her for some gourmet cat pellets?’
Zac laughed, and his Adam’s apple bobbed. ‘I think the cats can sort themselves out for tonight. See you later on.’ He smiled and closed the door.
So much for not bothering to get to know him anymore. The pages of his book of life were starting to open, and she was sure tonight would provide many more answers to the questions that had been forming in her mind. It was time to get to know Zac, for real. Not just chatting over the fence, not the odd, random conversations at his door, but real, proper, dignified conversation over the dinner table. A sense of anticipation fluttered inside. She had been looking forward to dinner at the pub, but this … this she was looking forward to way more than that.
APRIL’S GLOW is available from all online ebook retailers.
Others via the buy now button at Escape Publishing
It is a week of celebrations… a new book out today, 2 others earlier this month, and yesterday was my 40th birthday 🙂
It’s no surprise I decided to start the story of APRIL’S GLOW off with a birthday celebration too… April is the main character and her birthday at the start of the book begins a life-changing year for her as she meets and reluctantly falls in love with troubled ex-soldier Zac who moves in next door. But April is also troubled and the two will find both similarities and differences they need to come to terms with if they are to move on from their past and create a positive future.
I absolutely loved writing this emotionally intense story, and it gave me a chance to explore my love of poetry too, as Zac is a poet with his own blog. His poems take a different turn though when he starts to become fascinated by his new neighbour, April. But when April discovers a secret about Zac, it will change everything.
APRIL’S GLOW deals with issues of grief, hope, loss, addiction, and disability. Scarred people trying to navigate their challenges and create a new life for themselves. It shows that no matter what the mind, body and soul have been through, the heart will always ache to love again. But you have to be open to new possibilities.
APRIL’S GLOW is book 4 in my bestselling Tarrin’s Bay series, however it can be read as a stand alone story. You can find out about the other books in the series here.
BLURB & BUY LINKS:
The heartwarming new Tarrin’s Bay novel from bestselling author Juliet Madison is all about moving on – in unexpected ways.
Distracting herself from a string of bad luck and a disastrous love life, bubbly April Vedora throws herself into her new business —April’s Glow, a candle store in seaside Tarrin’s Bay — the enchanting scents and colourful atmosphere provide a safe haven. But outside business hours she’s clueless about her personal life.
When a mysterious loner moves in next door, she can’t help but become intrigued, and ex-soldier Zac Masterson is equally fascinated by April. But both have sworn off relationships, and while April avoids her emotions by keeping busy and sociable, Zac hides away from the world — and his past.
As the pair chip away at each other’s facades and secrets are revealed, April fears that the man she is unwillingly falling for could represent everything she’s worked so hard to avoid. Or could they be just what the other needs?
They’ve shared their secrets over the back fence, but resolving the past is going to mean opening the doors to their hearts — and letting each other in.
Buy from all online ebook retailers:
Others via the buy now button at Escape Publishing
…If you love the Tarrin’s Bay series, join the exclusive private Facebook group!
I hope you enjoy the latest TB story. Now, I’m about to start writing the next one… Memories of May! 🙂
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:
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.
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00PFBFESM
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PFBFESM
All other links via Escape publishing:
Happy Christmas reading! 🙂
Ta-Da! Here it is, the sparkling cover for my first ever Christmas story, 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS. 🙂
What is the book about? Here’s the blurb:
A beautiful, uplifting holiday story from best-selling author Juliet Madison about a lonely writer, her grandmother’s ghost, a road trip, and 12 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 search 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 one of the heroes in 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.
12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS is a 30,000 word novella and fits into the Romagic Comedy genre – it has romance, comedy, and magical elements, like some of my other books; FAST FORWARD, I DREAM OF JOHNNY, & HAUNTED EVER AFTER.
Release date: 8th December 2014
Publisher: Escape Publishing
>> Be notified when it is released by subscribing to my newsletter HERE.
Here is an excerpt…
‘What about Grandpa?’ I said. ‘Is he, ah…’
‘On the other side? Yes. I’ve touched base with him, and it was good to see him again, it really was, but I’m afraid to say he’s moved on. We loved each other of course and had a great life, but the truth is…’ she took another of those redundant breaths, ‘…we weren’t soulmates.’
‘What do you mean he’s moved on?’
‘He’s spending the afterlife with Lorna. And I’m not angry. I don’t blame him, because when all the obligations and responsibilities of physical life are down the pooper, all that matters is being true to your heart and soul.’
I frowned, from disappointment at Grandpa’s choice of afterlife companion or confusion as to how this all worked, I didn’t know.
‘Sorry, darling, it must be hard to comprehend all this. But the fact is, Harry and Lorna had a…what do you call it? A rendezvous or a fling, if you like, many years ago. I knew about it and of course I was furious, but after a while I forgave him. Because in reality, I knew I still loved and longed for Dave, so who was I to judge?’
‘But Grandma, who is Dave and why didn’t you stay with him back then?’
‘It’s a long story, muffin. But the gist of it is, we were together before the war, well, during the war. But then he went off to fight when he was eighteen and I never saw him again.’ She dropped her gaze to the floor. ‘We promised that when the war was over we’d meet again at our favourite place, and I was to turn up there every Saturday at noon until we were reunited. Months and months passed and I was there every week without fail, but he never showed.’
‘But the letter…he wrote to you, obviously.’
‘Just the once. As you can see in his letter, he promised to keep writing whenever he could, but something must have happened to prevent him from fulfilling that promise.’ She puffed up her short fluffy hair with an upturned palm like she always used to do, and pointed to the watch. ‘He gave that to me before he left, said it was to remind me that in time we’d be together again. I maintained it and kept it working.’
‘But he didn’t die in the war?’
‘Apparently not. I thought he had, everyone did. They said he was missing in action, presumed dead. And then when the war ended and he failed to return after several months, well, after a while I had to decide whether to keep hoping or let go and start living my life.’
‘So what happened to him?’
‘That’s the thing, I don’t know. I’ve tried to find out where he is and what happened, but the wretched administration up there,’ she pointed to the heavens, ‘leaves a bit to be desired.’ She crossed her arms. ‘All they could tell me was that my Dave Smith had not passed through the pearly gates. But to find out more information requires more manpower and paperwork, and they put me on a three month waiting list. Three months! While Harry and Lorna have their happily ever after, I’m left to twiddle my thumbs and wait it out. I’ll be putting in a complaint when I get back, you mark my words.’ She gave a curt nod. ‘But that will probably take another three months to process! They’re utterly swamped up there, what with all the deaths. And the queues, there are more crowds than a Buddy Holly concert, let me tell you.’
I didn’t know whether to laugh at what I was hearing or be frustrated along with her. Grandma wasn’t known for being shy, and if she had something to say about something that was bothering her, she’d say it.
‘How do we know where to look? I mean, do you have any idea where he might be?’
‘I met him when we were living in Berrinda. He was passing through with his soldier friends for a camping trip to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. When he told me he was going off to war, he said that if he returned safe and sound he’d want nothing more than to settle down in a place like Berrinda, or one of the other small towns on the south coast. That’s all I’ve got to go on.’
‘That’s a start, I guess. He might be in the phone book. What did you say his last name was?’
I sighed. She had to go fall in love with someone who had an extremely common first and last name!
As if reading my thoughts, Grandma said, ‘Shame his name wasn’t Reginald Liktenblacht or something easier to find.’ She shrugged and grinned.
Today is the official release day for HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my new full length romantic comedy novel with a touch of magic. And over the next two weeks I’m running a special competition to win a beautiful silver bracelet from Mantraband of the winner’s choice (Open Worldwide, free shipping). See below.
HAUNTED EVER AFTER
When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.
Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day. Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments.
Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after – but Red’s as well.
>> BUY NOW from Escape Publishing or via the links below:
If you enjoyed FAST FORWARD, be sure to check out Haunted Ever After which has lots of funny moments as well as emotional and heartwarming moments. This one also has a touch of mystery, and what romcom novel of mine wouldn’t be complete without a wacky underwear scene? There’s one in here too. Two, in fact. 😉
And to celebrate the release, I’m joining forces with two fellow authors from Escape Publishing who also write Magic Realism Romance; Sarah Belle and Jacquie Underdown, in a fun Facebook party with lots of giveaways! It starts tonight (Sep 1st) and will run for 24 hours (the party – not us, we will hopefully get some sleep at some point). Join the event HERE!
WIN a beautiful silver inspirational bracelet from Mantraband with your choice of affirmation engraved on it, plus an ebook of your choice written by me (6 to choose from). Open WORLDWIDE and free shipping for the bracelet. The bracelet prize will be delivered as an email gift voucher which you can use to order the bracelet of your choice free of charge. Winner drawn 15th September.
To enter click the following rafflecopter link:
Good luck! And i hope you enjoy HAUNTED EVER AFTER! 🙂
This week Escape Publishing launches its new category of novels, Magic Realism Romance:
Not quite paranormal, not quite fantasy, this genre believes that magic is a part of the every day, and that there’s more to our lives than can be explained. If you’re looking for a little mystical, a little miraculous, a little more, this is the romance for you.
Some of my novels will be included in this category: FAST FORWARD, I DREAM OF JOHNNY, STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, and my upcoming releases HAUNTED EVER AFTER and 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS. They fit the description because they are set in the real world with real people (and so aren’t full-on fantasy or paranormal), yet have that little touch of magic to take the story beyond the realm of the world we know.
Time travel, wishes, angels, ghosts… they’re all part of Magic Realism Romance, and each is included in one of my MRR books. Mine are also known as Romagic Comedies, because they have romance, magic, and comedy. If you like these types of stories, I have a facebook group you might like to join: Romagic Comedy Readers & Writers.
…This week, MRR authors from Escape Publishing are having a blog tour to celebrate this niche genre. Check the Escape blog for all the links. Today, for my post, I’m sharing an acrostic poem! I’m also having a giveaway to win an advance copy of my September release, HAUNTED EVER AFTER, as well as a copy of fellow Escape Artist Robyn Neeley’s book BATTER UP! See the rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter.
Here is what you could experience when you read a Magic Realism Romance novel:
Racing against time
Spells and sparkles
Magic lamps and more!
>>WIN! One advance ebook copy of HAUNTED EVER AFTER by Juliet Madison (read it before everyone else!), plus one ebook copy of BATTER UP by Robyn Neeley. Open worldwide. Winner drawn 13th August and notified via email.
To enter, click the rafflecopter link:>> a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! 🙂
HAUNTED EVER AFTER:
When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend. Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day.
Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments. Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after but Red’s as well.
Bakeshop owner Emma Stevens has a secret — a delicious, slightly unorthodox secret. Each Monday, she mixes up a premonition to share with the bachelors of Buttermilk Falls, and sets one lucky man on the path to true love.
When reporter Jason Levine finds himself mixed up in a Las Vegas bachelorette party, he hears the strangest rumour: the marriage is happening thanks to magic cake batter. Seriously sceptical, and sick of frauds, Jason journeys to the backwater town of Buttermilk Falls to expose the baker and release the townspeople from her evil clutches.
But when Jason meets Emma, tempers flare and sparks fly. Will Jason cling to his logic at the expense of a future, or will he let himself fall under Emma’s spell?
Have you read many Magic Realism Romances or perhaps Romagic Comedies? Let me know some you’ve enjoyed…
The paperwork is all in order so I can now officially announce that I’ve signed a 3 book contract with my publisher, Escape Publishing (digital imprint of Harlequin Australia)! 😀
The books are as follows:
- HAUNTED EVER AFTER (previously Haunted Housewives) – a romagic comedy novel about a prim and proper bride-to-be who is haunted by the ghost of her fiance’s ex-girlfriend on her hen’s/bachelorette weekend away. There’ll be fun and games, a stripper who has more to reveal than rock-hard abs, and one very feisty red-haired ghost on a mission. Releasing 1st September 2014.
- 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS – a heartwarming romagic comedy Christmas novella about a romance writer who spends more time on her fictional love lives than her own, and receives a surprising visit from her Grandmother’s ghost asking for help to find her first love, Dave, who disappeared during the war. Cue a Christmas road trip, and a series of funny and touching moments as they work their way through a list of Daves in search of the right one. Releasing 1st December 2014.
- MIRACLE IN MARCH (tentative title) – Book #3 in the Tarrin’s Bay series, though a complete stand-alone story just like The January Wish and February or Forever. …Miracle in March is about two ex-lovers both in need of a miracle, who find themselves unexpectedly reunited during a one week stay at the Tarrin’s Bay Beachside Cabins. Emma’s hiding the truth about why she ended their relationship six years ago, and James is no longer a high-flying lawyer but a single stay-at-home dad with an autistic son. At the Town of New Beginnings, truths will be shared, dreams will be remembered, and a miracle or two just may occur. Releasing 1st March 2015.
I can’t wait to share the first book, Haunted Ever After, with you in September! The other two are currently in progress, so I’m working hard on making them as enjoyable as possible and meeting my deadlines!
I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration, so if you’d like to follow my boards for each of these books, here are the links:
You can also stay updated by subscribing to this blog, and to my email updates at www.julietmadison.com (free gift included!).
BIG thanks to my publisher for continuing to publish my books, and to my readers and reviewers who keep me in business! 🙂
My publisher, Escape Publishing, is updating their website and revamping their categories for various books. They are looking for the right name to give a category of books that don’t quite fit into other categories, including some of my books such as Fast Forward, I Dream of Johnny, and Starstruck in Seattle.
Can you help?
What these books have in common is that they are set in the real world but have elements of something magical or supernatural, but are not full-on paranormals or fantasy books. They may be comedies or emotional dramas or mysteries, but all have a magical element that is crucial to the story, such as time travel, ghosts, wishes and magic lamps, illusions, premonitions, magic powers…etc.
If you come up with the winning title you can win a set of these books from Escape Publishing! So what do you think? Are they best described as Romagic, Supernatural, Alternate Reality, Other-Worldly, Romantic Illusion, or something else?
Have your say! Go to Escape’s blog and leave a comment with your email address to have a chance of winning the prize. Click HERE.
If you haven’t yet got a copy of my heartwarming women’s fiction and coastal romance novel FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, or would like to send an inexpensive gift copy to a friend to give them a boost, now is the time! It is on special for only 99 cents on Amazon. The deal may not be available in all countries though, so please check the relevant links below:
Amazon.com.au link: http://www.amazon.com.au/February-Or-Forever-Juliet-Madison-ebook/dp/B00HQ5ZEHQ/
This book is the second in my linked Tarrin’s Bay series, but is a complete stand alone so you don’t need to have read the first book, The January Wish, beforehand (though you can if you choose!).
FEBRUARY OR FOREVER is set in a small Australian coastal country town and has romance, friendship, family dramas, and secrets, and revolves around the premise – what if your favourite celebrity fell in love with you? Think about your favourite singer, actor, or celebrity, or your fave from long ago… can you imagine what it would feel like if you met them and romance blossomed? That was what I tried to capture in this story. Chrissie is a hardworking single mother with a challenging six year old son, and has loved Drew Williams’ music (and um, his ‘personality’) for eighteen years, ever since he won a television talent show and shot to international stardom. Now he’s back in The Bay where he grew up, with plans to escape his busy life for just one month. But can one month become forever when he and his private yoga teacher Chrissie fall in love?
Discover the beautiful and enticing Tarrin’s Bay… join Chrissie and Drew at Serendipity beachside health retreat, the enchanting rural property of Honeydew House, the quaint Miracle Park, and the secluded part of the beach on a starry moonlit night…
Here’s what people are saying about FEBRUARY OR FOREVER:
- “Brilliant! … February or Forever is a fun, heartwarming story that will stay with me for a long time to come. It left me smiling at my eReader, making “woop” sounds all the way through and of course, made me cry. It’s a modern day fairy tale about a girl meeting her celebrity crush.. except that it’s nothing like that. And it’s why I loved this book so much.” ~ Maryline VP
- “This book brought out all of my emotions from laughing to crying. Highly recommend read.” ~ Sbart61
- “I totally loved this book! … Honestly, I’m not the one to drool over fictional heroes, but man..Drew really won my heart. He’s gorgeous, successful, yet such a friendly, kind, family guy. It was really nice to read about a normal celebrity for a change.” ~ Ananda
And here’s a little snippet from the book:
Motherhood had taught Chrissie to be a great multi-tasker. She could cook dinner, answer Kai’s ridiculously difficult questions about outer space, and do her one hundred bi-weekly calf raises while writing the next day’s shopping list. ‘Good, that’s better,’ she said, taking her hands off Drew and letting him sustain the pose. ‘I don’t want to see any more of those spaghetti arms.’
‘You going all Dirty Dancing on me?’
Drew’s posture loosened slightly as he chuckled. ‘Just don’t put me in the corner if I do things wrong.’
Chrissie laughed. ‘Don’t worry, nobody puts Drew in the corner.’
Drew eased out of the pose and turned to face her. ‘My puns are rubbing off on you.’
‘If only it was your singing ability.’
A smile formed on his lips.
‘How do you know Dirty Dancing so well, anyway? I thought it was a chick flick.’
‘I’ve seen it. I have a good memory.’ He shrugged. ‘And anyway, Sarah was obsessed with it as a young teenager, she had it on VHS and watched it over and over again on the only television set in the house. The script and songs are ingrained into my subconscious memory.’
Chrissie found herself swaying playfully side to side. ‘Are you a good dancer?’
He held his arms out to the side. ‘Am I a good dancer?’ he asked confidently as though he was Johnny Castle himself. ‘I’ll let you be the judge of that.’ He waltzed over to her in a sexy swagger and grabbed her, tipping her torso backwards.
‘Whoa!’ Chrissie straightened up. ‘Wasn’t expecting that.’
‘Expect the unexpected,’ Drew said dramatically, placing one hand on her waist and the other on her hand, in dance position. He stepped forwards and she moved with him, he turned and changed direction and she followed, trusting his lead, until she stepped on his foot.
‘Ouch! Lucky you weren’t in heels.’
‘If I was in heels I would have fallen over back there.’ She pointed to the direction they’d come from. ‘How those ballroom dancers do it I have no idea.’ She broke away from his grasp. ‘Anyway, this isn’t exactly yoga now is it? You, Mister, should behave.’ She jabbed her finger towards his chest.
‘You were the one who asked if I could dance. And besides, what’s wrong with mixing up the classes a little?’
‘So you want to…dance with me?’
‘Why not?’ He shot her a cheeky grin.
She matched it with one of her own. ‘Then there’s only one thing that’s missing.’ She walked over to the corner table and plucked her phone from her bag. She went to scroll through the iPod playlists but opted for YouTube instead. When she found what she was looking for she placed her iPhone in the speaker dock on the table, pressed play, then turned to look at Drew.
His face lit up in recognition when the music began. The unmistakeable song, The Time of my Life, filled the room, its slow, breezy start encouraging her to saunter across the room towards him. Drew eyed her with anticipation, curling his finger to entice her closer, then her body was against his, captivated by a playful eagerness in his eyes.
>>To read more, get your copy here…
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