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COVER REVEAL! 12 Daves of Christmas (plus excerpt)

Ta-Da! Here it is, the sparkling cover for my first ever Christmas story, 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS. 🙂

12DavesXmas_Final1920

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?’

‘Smith.’

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.

 

>> Be notified when 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS is released by subscribing to my newsletter HERE. You can also follow me on twitter and Facebook

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1 Week To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Here is the last excerpt pic in the countdown to the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed FAST FORWARD, be sure to check out this cheeky, chaotic, fun, and heartwarming read on September 1st.

1WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘Keep thinking of something funny,’ the photographer said. ‘It’ll make the smile more natural and won’t ache as much.’

Funny, funny…what on earth could I possibly find funny about this situation?

I glanced at Red. She pulled her top lip inside out and made her eyes bulge.

Nice try, ghostie.

Okay, funny stuff…um, that Friends episode when Ross gets a fake tan on one side of his body. That was quite funny. I smiled, but not enough to make me laugh.

‘Getting there, now relax and flash us a great big laughing smile.’ The photographer snapped photos while I kept adjusting my facial expressions and pose, and Red kept pulling faces, none of which triggered a burst of laughter. Until she gave up directing them at me and pulled them at the photographer instead. She stood right next to him, shoved her face next to his and grunted, looking like a deformed monkey. A bubble of laughter tickled my throat. She then sat in front of me on the floor and squished her face together with her hands till she resembled a chubby baby crossed with an alien, and that did it. My stomach heaved and laughter burst forth, and click, click, click went the camera.

‘Bravo! That’s what I’m talking about,’ said the photographer. ‘Now I’ll just check some of these before we change location.’ He fiddled with his camera and frowned. ‘That’s odd.’

The assistant approached him and peered at the screen. ‘Hmm.’

‘Hmm what?’ Lorena asked.

‘It’s okay, but we might have to shoot a couple more to replace a few of these. There’s a strange light imbalance in a few pictures.’

‘Can I have a look?’ I asked, launching from the couch and up to the camera.

‘Ah, sure,’ he said, holding the camera in front of me.

Oh my God. Right where Red had been sitting in front of me was a warped stretch of light, like a smear of something on glass. He flipped through the images and each photo where Red was in the shot had a ‘light imbalance’ or whatever they called it. I gulped.

‘I don’t know where that came from. Look, the one before is perfect, and then an instant later the shot is disrupted.’ He fiddled with the settings on his camera and I looked towards my friends and shrugged. But inside my heart flip-flopped. This was evidence. Proof that Red wasn’t just in my imagination or a manifestation of some disease, she was really here. A ghost. In this house, with me.

‘C’mon, you sexy housewife you,’ said Lorena. ‘Let’s touch up your lipstick while they adjust the equipment.’ She led me towards the bathroom, and Red followed alongside us making The Twilight Zone sound effects and wriggling her fingers.

Oh dear. I may not be sick or mad, and I wasn’t too sure about the sexy part, but I was definitely one very haunted housewife.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

2 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 2 weeks to go, here is the next excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

2WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘What…what are you doing?’ I stiffened.

He ignored my question and put my bare foot against his bare chest, rubbing and massaging it with his firm hands. ‘I could get you back for the trolley incident, but I’m not one to hold a grudge.’ He winked.

I wasn’t going to let a petty incident ruin my evening but I couldn’t quite get rid of the embarrassing sensation crawling up my spine. A complete stranger is rubbing my foot! Barring a professional masseuse, this shouldn’t happen to an engaged woman, should it? What would Greg be doing right now? Probably enjoying a super-expensive bottle of wine at the golf retreat and chatting business.

No, he shouldn’t be getting this personal with me, I should put a stop to it. I’ll just politely remove my foot from his hold and… Oh God…oh wow…how on earth is he doing that? My foot was practically having an orgasm. A footgasm. Was that even possible?

Ty smiled as he rubbed and pressed, probably knowing too well the magic his hands were casting. He must be using some kind of acupressure technique. Fancy a stripper knowing that. Strangely, my body softened a little and I let him do his thing, even though I felt like a terrible wife-to-be.

When he’d had his way with my foot he placed it gently back in the shoe, then stood and ripped off his pants for the second time that night. His body moved with the music as though his muscles were controlling the tempo. There was no doubt about it, this guy could dance. Whoever said dancing was a girly pursuit for guys hadn’t seen Ty. He oozed masculinity, confidence, and — gulp — sexiness, and his performance was in no way cheesy. It was classy. And professional. And…I think I’ve had too much to drink. I shook away the hint of desire creeping throughout my body like a pack of stealthy field agents. Greg. Think of Greg. He’s my man, he’s my fiancé, and Ty is just some light entertainment to satisfy Lorena’s urge to create the ideal hen’s party.

‘Wipe that drool from your face, girlfriend!’ My body stiffened as Red sat next to me.

‘Go away,’ I hissed through pursed lips.

‘What, and miss this show? I’ve been practically comatose back there in the corner from the shock of all this beauty.’ She eyed Ty with intense eyes of desire. ‘Mmm… Now I really miss being alive.’ She floated towards him and moulded her body to his as he swayed.

Red, please don’t. I tried to send her an instant message via ESP.

‘I can almost feel his heat,’ she said, leaning in close to his face. ‘I wish I could smell him.’ She breathed in violently through her nose like she was trying to unclog her sinuses with nasal spray.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

3 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 3 weeks to go, here is the next excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

3WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘What’s your favourite colour?’ I asked Ty.

‘Cobalt. Why?’

‘Just making conversation to pass the time. Cobalt? Not blue, or green, or red, but cobalt?’

‘Colours vary, it’s good to be specific.’

‘I guess. Then why aren’t you wearing cobalt? And why is your car black?’

‘I didn’t say it was my favourite colour to wear or anything, it’s just my favourite colour to look at, generally.’

‘Fair enough. That makes sense.’

‘What’s yours? Wait…light purple?’

‘Mauve. How did you know?’

‘You were wearing it that night you got stuck in the toilet. Just a guess.’

And I thought the only thing he’d noticed was the fact that I’d gotten stuck in the toilet.

‘Favourite TV show?’ he asked.

I was having déjà vu. It reminded me of the twenty questions Red had fired at me during dinner at the guest house when Ty was with us. As long as he didn’t ask me my favourite sexual position like she had, I’d be fine.

Doctor Who, or Midsomer Murders.’

He smiled. Was he silently making fun of my entertainment choices?

‘Oh, and Friends,’ I added, to seem reasonably normal and hip, and to honour last Saturday night’s laughter prescription. ‘You?’

Friends, too, of course, and Seinfeld. And Game of Thrones.’

‘Oh, I don’t think I could watch that. Looks too explicit and gory.’

‘Exactly! I love it. Try it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.’

‘Hmm.’ I wasn’t convinced.

‘Okay, next question: If you could go back in time, when would you go?’

‘The fifties. They seemed cute and fun. You?’

‘Hmm, maybe the Palaeolithic period? You know, grow a beard and long hair, wear nothing but a loincloth, and hunt for food. Perfect.’

‘Caveman, huh? Well, you’ve got the loincloth bit all sorted, in a modern sort of way.’

‘True. Maybe I’ll have to mix up my performances a little. Instead of Doctor Ty, I could be Caveman Ty.’

An image of him swinging shirtless from tree to tree flashed through my mind. ‘Or Tarzan’s naughty cousin.’

‘Good idea. Tyzan, perhaps?’

I chuckled.

‘How about we play I Spy next instead of Twenty Questions? It’s a perfect game for road trips, Cody loves playing it.’

Being around Ty was never boring. And I appreciated the way he was taking my mind off the inevitable challenge of going back to Chris’ house.

‘I’ll start,’ he said. ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…I.’

‘Umm… Incredibly infuriating guy indifferent to public displays of partial nudity?’ I joked.

‘Nope! And yes, sort of.’

‘Impossibly irritating imbecilic Neanderthal?’

A laugh shot from his mouth. ‘I didn’t know you had such a witty way with words, Sexy Sally.’

‘I’m full of surprises this long weekend.’

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

4 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 4 weeks to go, here is an excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

4WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘I want you to call Ty and ask him to come over for a game of Twister.’

‘Twister? But that’s a game for flexible young kids who don’t mind clambering over each other.’

‘Ty is flexible.’

‘I’m not! And I’m engaged, it wouldn’t be right to get that close to another guy. You’ll have to give me another dare.’

‘Okay, I dare you to walk down the main street and sing Tomorrow from Annie at the top of your lungs, and hug random people as you go by.’

I had visions of being captured on video and going viral on YouTube. ‘No, no way.’ I shook my head vigorously.

‘Then call Ty.’ Mel handed me back my phone. ‘Twister or Tomorrow. What’ll it be?’

I ran a hand over my head. No way could I sing in public, especially after my dance incident. Singing was a completely different thing, and my voice could barely crank out a simple Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in tune.

‘So I just have to call him and ask, it doesn’t matter if he says no, right?’

‘If he says yes, you have to play Twister with him, but if he says no, well, I guess there’s nothing you can do about that. But you have to at least ask him.’ She shoved the phone into my hand and it shook in my grasp. It was only a simple phone call, but something about being around him made me nervous. Maybe it was his superhuman physique, or the fact that he seemed like some super-caring, kind, too-good-to-be-true angel from heaven sent down to earth to make women swoon and look after those who needed a little extra support. He came from a completely different world to mine, and it felt like I was about to call my teenage celebrity crush.

‘Here’s his number,’ Lorena said, showing me her phone.

I added him as a contact and my finger hovered over his number.

‘Press it, Sally! I want to see this!’ Red was back to her usual self at the prospect of another embarrassing moment for me.

I pressed it.

‘Hello? Ty speaking,’ he answered.

‘Hi, Ty, I…’ Oh God, I’m rhyming! ‘It’s me, Sally.’

‘Sexy Sally?’

Heat rushed up my face. ‘Well, the one from the guest house.’

‘Yeah, as I said: Sexy Sally. What can I do for you? Would you like to book another performance?’

‘Oh goodness, no, not at all.’

‘Gee, thanks. Glad you’re so keen.’

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean…I just meant, anyway, I’m calling to ask something,’

He was silent for a moment, then: ‘You’ll have to speak up, sunshine.’

I cleared my throat but my voice remained croaky. ‘I was wondering if you’d care for a game of…’ I cleared my throat again at the same time as uttering the word, ‘Twister’.

‘Sorry? A game of what?’

‘Twister,’ I said more loudly, the painful embarrassment like a red-hot burn on my cheeks.

Mel tipped her head back with a sudden laugh.

Ty’s voice held a hint of a smile. ‘You want me to come over to play Twister?’

‘I guess so.’

He chuckled. ‘You girls are an entertaining bunch.’

‘It’s okay, you don’t have to, I know you’ve had a busy day and you probably have other things to do with your brother, or a job to go to, or — ’

‘Be there in ten.’

‘Huh?’

‘The guest house. Ten minutes. I’ll warm up on the way there.’ And then he hung up.

I kept the phone next to my ear and furrowed my brow, my mouth agape.

‘Sal?’ asked Mel.

‘He hung up.’

‘He hung up on you?’ Georgie asked.

‘No, he hung up after saying he’d be here in ten minutes.’

‘Woohoo!’ Mel exclaimed. ‘I only wanted you to ask him, I didn’t think he’d actually agree to it! Ooh, this is going to be fun to watch!’

‘Watch? But you have to play too, I can’t play it on my own, with him.’

‘Nope, the dare was for you to ask him over to play.’

‘And I’m definitely out of this game,’ Lorena said, holding her belly and convenient excuse. I was sure, though, had she not been pregnant, she wouldn’t have minded playing Twister with a stripper.

‘And as much as I’d love to get up close and personal with His Royal Hotness, I’d much rather see you in action on those coloured spots.’ Mel grinned, and I looked towards Georgie for moral support.

She held her palms up. ‘Sorry, I’m needed in the kitchen.’

‘But we’re eating out tonight.’

‘Yes, but someone has to marinate the lamb for tomorrow night’s dinner.’

‘But — ’

‘Too late for an appeal, Sal, you better get ready. Warm up and stretch or something. I’ll set up the mat. Tick-tock!’ She tapped her watch.

Oh my goodness gracious me. I felt like I was about to betray Greg. What had I got myself into?

As Mel prepared the game, I swung my arms around in circles. Probably best if I did warm up a little, it would make it easier to manoeuvre around the mat and avoid bodily contact. Why did he agree to play Twister anyway? He knows I’m taken, so it’s not like he’s seeing it as an opportunity to hit on me or anything. Probably just wants to show off his…bendiness.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

5 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 5 weeks to go, here is the first excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

5WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

What does one talk to a stripper about over dinner anyway? ‘How was work? Did you have a good day at the office?’

Georgie served our meals of Chicken Valdostano, and after taking a mouthful and complimenting the chef, Ty directed questions my way, saving me from having to think what to ask him. ‘When’s the big day?’

‘One week’s time. Are you married?’ I asked. It was so much easier to ask that question when men knew you were taken, otherwise it sounded like you were sussing them out for potential husband material. But anyway, what sort of wife would want her husband to strip semi-naked and have women grope him in order to pay the bills and put food on the table?

He shook his head, took another mouthful, then asked, ‘What do you do for a living, Sally?’

‘Sally’s a nurse,’ Mel said.

‘I’m sure she can speak for herself, Mel,’ said Georgie, her slender fingers wrapped around the stem of her wine glass.

‘Sorry, force of habit. Five kids.’ Mel shrugged.

‘Ah, you must be a very caring person,’ Ty said. ‘How long have you been nursing?’

‘Geez, he asks a lot of questions.’ Red sat at the empty chair to my right and placed her ghostly elbows on the table. Such a classy ghost. Crashing my party and bad table manners to boot.

‘Almost ten years now.’ I smiled.

‘I could have been a nurse,’ Red said. ‘All those smart, hot doctors to drool over. Mmm…’ she rolled her eyes back in an apparent daydream.

I wouldn’t spoil her assumption and tell her that most of the doctors I knew were either grey-haired and pudgy men or skinny and awkward young men with remnants of teenage acne. Sure, there were a few lookers, but it’s no Grey’s Anatomy.

‘How long have you been, um, stripping?’ I asked, as dignified as possible.

‘Three years.’ He took a sip of wine. ‘And did you always want to be a nurse?’

Did you always want to be a stripper? I couldn’t imagine him as a young boy at school getting up in front of the class and sharing his career aspirations for career day.

‘Well, sort of, I — ’

‘I want to ask questions too, sheesh! Can’t get a word in with this guy!’ Red sat on the edge of the table and I tried not to look at her. ‘What’s your favourite colour, Sally? Wait, let me guess, mauve, right?’

Quit distracting me! I tried the ESP thing again. But what I really wanted to do was push her off the table. So much for being a caring person.

‘Okay, what’s your favourite band then?’ she persisted. ‘Favourite food?’ She leaned over the table and shoved her face in front of mine. ‘Ooh, what about favourite celebrity when you were a teenager? Huh, huh? Answer me, girl!’

I shifted in my seat and pretended I was trying to retrieve the answer to Ty’s question, which had been diluted by Red’s constant verbal assault.

‘Favourite book? Favourite animal?’ she continued shooting questions at me like a tennis ball machine, and my head started to hurt.

‘Um…’ I cleared my throat and rubbed my ear, tension building inside like a boiling pot of water. ‘Sorry, what was the question again?’

‘I said, did you always want to be a nurse?’ Ty repeated.

‘Favourite song? Favourite shop?’ Red continued. ‘Ooh, ooh! Favourite sexual position?’

In frustration, my hand banged down on the table, sending my fork flying across to the floor. ‘Missionary, okay? Missionary!’ I blurted.

All eyes stared at me. ‘What?’ Lorena asked, curiosity and concern on her face at my apparent distress.

Oh dear God.

Red had collapsed in laughter on the floor next to me. ‘Missionary! Haha, missionary position! I knew it!’ she repeated, rolling about.

Just when I thought I’d have to excuse myself from the table, a convenient explanation hit me. I cleared my throat. ‘A missionary. I, er, wanted to be a missionary.’ I gave a confident nod.

‘Um, no you didn’t,’ Lorena said firmly.

Mel had cracked up as well as Red. ‘Since when did you want to become a missionary?’

I pushed my unnatural curls from my face and raised my chin. ‘Well, if you must know, since I was a kid. My parents sent me to Sunday school (true) and I really enjoyed it (false). I thought it would be great to one day travel the world and spread the good word of the Lord (also false). There. Now you know.’

‘Good for you,’ Ty said with a nod. ‘What stopped you?’

How could I get off the missionary topic? All this quick thinking was doing my head in.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

COVER REVEAL! Haunted Ever After (plus excerpt)

Drumroll… Ta-Da! 🙂

What do you think?

HauntedEverAfter-JulietMadison

The design team at Harlequin Australia / Escape Publishing have given me another fabulous cover. It’s always so exciting to see a cover for the first time, and I end up giggling like a little girl. 😀

This is my first cover with a guy on the front! Hello. Oh, except if you count the male nose and mouth on the cover of Starstruck in Seattle. 😉

As soon as it’s up on Goodreads, and on Amazon etc to preorder, I’ll post links. But for now, enjoy the cover and the blurb and excerpt below…

(Unofficial) blurb:

When bride-to-be, Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids in the small country town of Barron Springs, the last thing she expects is for an uninvited visitor to tag along: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.

She’s quirky, loud, and hyperactive, and the prim and proper Sally is desperate to find out why she’s being haunted so she can be free of her embarrassing disruptions before the wedding day. Problem is, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her presence, but seems intent on tempting her with the hot and charming stripper, Ty, who is always turning up at awkward moments. Is the ghost on a jealousy-fuelled mission to stop the wedding? 

By the time the ghost’s secrets are revealed, Sally’s strength will be tested to its limits, and she must go above and beyond anything she’s ever experienced in order to ensure a happy-ever-after for not only herself, but others too.

Exclusive excerpt:

She pushed her finger forwards, and — plop! —the stone fell from my grasp and down my t-shirt through the small valley of my cleavage. I shivered at its cold, smooth surface as it travelled down to my abdomen. ‘Oh no!’ Red laughed as I unbuttoned my jacket and tried to discreetly shove my hand down my top.

‘Can I help at all?’ I spun around to see Ty standing nearby, my hand still lodged between my boobs and my elbow pointing to the heavens, where I wished Red would toddle off to. I yanked my hand out and straightened my jacket.

‘No, I’m fine thanks. Where did you spring from?’

‘I saw you looking at something in your hand so I came to see what it was.’

‘Oh, it’s just a gemstone.’ I brushed a non-existent strand of hair from my face. ‘It sort of, um, fell down my top.’ I could still feel it low against my belly, but I didn’t think my arm could reach down far enough to get it. I could also feel an uncomfortable wave of heat rushing across my face, belying the fact that it was a cold winter’s day.

Ty tried to hold back a grin, but a hint of it twinkled at the sides of his mouth. ‘So, maybe just give your shirt a bit of a shake?’ He grasped his close-fitting black ribbed top at the hem and gave it a shake, and a glimpse of his tanned, hard abs brought back flashes of him last night in his underwear.

The heat on my face intensified. ‘Well, you see, I sort of can’t,’ I replied, touching the spot where the gemstone lay.

‘Why not?’

Oh dear God. Of all the days, why did I have to wear this thing underneath?

‘Because I’m wearing a bodysuit.’

Ty’s eyebrows rose. ‘Oh, one of those all-in-one lycra things?’

I nodded.

‘So you’d need to, um…’

‘Unhook it, below, yes.’ Too much information. Why was I telling him this? Surely a man of his ‘experience’ knew how a woman’s bodysuit was structured.

‘In that case, I’ll let you get on with it.’ He gestured behind and turned away, then turned back briefly. ‘I’ll just wait over here.’

I hid behind a stall and grasped the stone through my clothing with one hand, walking it up my body the way one does with a draw cord lost in the waistband of one’s pants, but it only moved slightly. I plunged my hand down my top again and dug around, but the tight-fit of the bodysuit made it difficult. C’mon gemstone! Where are you? It was like the Bermuda Triangle in here. If this failed I’d have to find the ladies bathrooms and do the unhooking, but if I could just get it…

I grunted, sinking my stomach muscles inwards to make more room for my arm, and stretching poor Mel’s t-shirt piece of art. My fingers came in contact with cold stone which I grasped, and with my other hand I pushed it upwards, until the stone was in my hand and my arm was finally out of a place I didn’t exactly aspire it to be whilst in public, or even private, for that matter. ‘Phew!’ I breathed out, having held my breath for a little while.

I adjusted my top and jacket and returned to where I’d been, feeling as though everyone was looking at me, even though they weren’t. Except Ty.

‘Got it?’ he asked.

I held up the stone in victory.

He clapped. ‘If you were single I would have given you a hand. You know, just to do the helpful gentlemanly thing.’ He winked.

Flirt. ‘Oh, I’m sure.’ I crossed my arms and diverted my gaze from his.

 

Stay tuned… HAUNTED EVER AFTER releases on 1st Sept 2014. Subscribe to this blog or to my email newsletter HERE to be reminded on release day.

It’s My Birthday And I’ll Blog If I Want To

Yay, a birthday! Another year to celebrate being alive – yippee! That’s what I think on the 14th April each year (see my overjoyed expression below). Then reality hits… Oh. My birthday. Um. Hmm… another year older (see my overjoyed freaked out expression below). How does the time go so fast? Wasn’t it only recently that I was youthful and firm with skin all …dewy and stuff? What happened? Gravity and time, that’s what happened. Gravity – you suck. Except for the fact that you keep us on the ground instead of flying around in chaotic, uncontrollable astronaut fashion. Then again, that could be kinda fun. Occasionally. Except during meal preparation time… “Stay in the frypan, onions! And you naughty chicken breasts – stop floating towards the television! Don’t make me come get you!” And if I was boiling potatoes at the same time I’d also be dodging floating pellets of boiling water and looking like an uncoordinated ninja.

beforeandafterjuliet

But seriously, a birthday is a blessing. A privilege. And although physical ageing is inevitable, the mind and heart can stay as young as you wish it to be. And when I blow out that birthday candle tonight (one candle, because who can be bothered counting them all out once you’re over a certain age? 😉 ), I’ll be wishing for health and happiness for myself and my loved ones. And maybe some other things but I can’t tell you because then they might not come true! 😉

Sooo, I better go enjoy my day. Oh hang on, I have an idea. I’ll share a couple of snippets of birthday scenes from my books. Yes, that’s a good idea for a birthday blog post. Rightio, off to find them…

…I’m baaack!

Apparently only two of my books have birthday scenes. My other characters never age. Damn them.

Here are snippets from FAST FORWARD and THE JANUARY WISH:

 

Fast Forward, birthday excerpt from chapter 15:

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonI opened more presents, including a heat-sensing automatic temperature-adjusting blanket from Kasey and Max, along with a donation on my behalf to the Ants Have Feelings Too research foundation, and watched more amazing moving birthday cards, until only one thing remained on the present table. A white envelope.

It seemed strange that among all this technology, paper still actually existed. I slid my finger under the seal and pulled out a plastic card about the size of a book … if books still existed, I certainly hadn’t seen any around the house.

“Oh, whoops, that was supposed to be for later,” Will said. “Ah, might as well have it now, then.” His face went slightly pink.

“What is it, Kel?” Elaine asked with curious eyes.

“It’s a … ” I began, my cheeks becoming hot.

Ryan came over and plucked the card from my hands. “C’mon, the suspense is killing us!” He read the card and grinned. “It’s a couple’s intimate photo shoot at Image of Desire studios.”

“Woo-woo!” Regina said and a few cheers and whistles escaped the mouths of my guests, as Will held out his hands.

“Now calm down everyone, it’s just a makeover and photo shoot for married couples, nothing raunchy.”

“Yeah right,” Ryan exclaimed. “Have you seen the portfolio on the gift card? Look.” He pressed a button on the card and a slideshow played, showing various couples wearing minimal clothing embracing in imaginative positions like strands of spaghetti clinging to a fork.

A makeover and photo shoot I could handle, but with Will? Doing…that? My stomach lurched as I attempted to steal the card back from Ryan, who was holding it up in the air for everyone to see, keeping it out of my grasp. “Give it to me, son, that’s enough of your teasing,” I said in a motherly voice and interestingly, it worked.

“Sorry, Mum. It’s just funny, that’s all.” He handed me the card and I shoved it back in its envelope as Will mouthed a red-faced ‘sorry’ at me. I flicked my hand as though it was nothing and then re-opened Diora’s gift in an effort to distract myself—and everyone else—asking the nearest person to help me latch the necklace around my neck.

“There is another present, Mum,” Ryan said in a more serious tone.

“Huh? But you already took me bungy jumping.”

“You went bungy jumping?” Marge Simpson leapt from her seat, her beehive wig almost toppling forward.

“Didn’t you know?” Homer asked. “I told you yesterday remember, when you were baking that soufflé?”

“Darling, you should know by now to never talk to me when I’m baking, especially a soufflé, I won’t remember a thing for the concentration it requires.”

“Yes, she sure did,” Ben said. “She was awesome!” Ryan glanced longingly towards Ben and smiled, before turning back to me.

“This is something extra special, I’ve been planning it for a while,” Ryan said.

Oh dear God. Don’t let it be skydiving, or hang gliding, or a one-way trip to Mount Everest. Please!

 

The January Wish, birthday excerpt from chapter 28:

TheJanuaryWishcover‘I don’t think I can fit in dessert now,’ Sylvia said, as she leaned back in the chair at the dinner table and lifted her glass to her lips. She had no problem fitting in more wine.

‘You have to, it’s your birthday!’ Joyce said. ‘And the waiter needs something to put a birthday candle on,’ she added.

Mark nodded in agreement. ‘You know you’re getting old when you only get one birthday candle. It’s too much hassle to count out the correct amount,’ he said with a charming smirk. ‘Either that or there’s not enough room to fit them all on,’ he added. Everyone erupted in laughter and Sylvia kicked him under the table. He simply grinned, then winked at her. ‘Just teasing,’ he said. ‘You look great for someone your age, Sylvia.’ She kicked him again.

They say that one of the best signs that someone is recovering well from illness is the return of their sense of humour. Sylvia wondered if the same could be said for grief. When she’d first met Mark, his humorous charm had attracted her, but after their discussion about his wife’s death, he’d lost that charm. He’d become quiet and serious. Lately though, she’d begun to see a subtle re-emergence of his sense of humour. Tonight, it was obviously back in full force.

‘Look Sylvia, there’s lemon meringue pie.’ Joyce held the menu in front of Sylvia. ‘And coconut panna cotta with raspberry coulis and almond biscotti. Or what about Death by Chocolate?’

Maybe she could fit in some chocolate. ‘That sounds like a good way to go,’ Sylvia replied. ‘I mean, in terms of dessert choice, not death,’ she added with a chuckle, and hoped the mention of death wouldn’t upset Mark. She’d tried to keep their few discussions at work lighthearted, but that was difficult considering her profession. The subject of death was bound to come up occasionally. Thankfully, Mark didn’t seem rattled in the slightest, and in fact continued to mock her ‘old age’ by suggesting she tuck her napkin into her shirt collar and ask for her dessert to be pureed for ease of consuming.

‘Is the naturopath allowed any dessert?’ Sylvia asked Mark.

‘Of course. All things in moderation,’ he replied. ‘Tell you what, I’ll splurge on Death by Chocolate too.’ Mark placed his menu down on the table and signalled a waiter.

As the waiter made his way towards the table, Sylvia noticed Grace outside the restaurant. Strange, she thought. It’s a bit late to change her mind about joining them for dinner. Well, she could always just have dessert; there was room to pull up another chair. Sylvia was about to wave at Grace to come inside when a sense of dread filled her stomach. Grace looked different. Ghostly, in fact. And she was clinging to the window. A strange facial expression crossed Grace’s face as their eyes connected. Fear mixed with relief, Sylvia recognised. And within moments of their gaze locking on each other, Grace’s eyes rolled back and she slid down the window like a raindrop losing its grip on the glass.

 

~ Hope you enjoyed the excerpts! To check out the books or any of my others, here is my page on my publisher’s site with all the links: This one here. Go on, you know you want to. 😉

Until next year… 😉 

 

FEBRUARY OR FOREVER on special for 99 cents

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 link: http://www.amazon.com/February-Forever-Juliet-Madison-ebook/dp/B00HQ5ZEHQ/

Amazon.com.au link: http://www.amazon.com.au/February-Or-Forever-Juliet-Madison-ebook/dp/B00HQ5ZEHQ/

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/February-Or-Forever-Juliet-Madison-ebook/dp/B00HQ5ZEHQ/

FoFThis 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?’

‘Whatever works.’

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…

 

To share this post, copy & paste any of the following:

What if your favourite celebrity fell in love with you? FEBRUARY OR FOREVER by @Juliet_Madison on special #99c! http://amzn.com/B00HQ5ZEHQ 

#WeekendReads! FEBRUARY OR FOREVER special deal – only #99c! Limited Time offer http://amzn.com/B00HQ5ZEHQ @Juliet_Madison #bookworm #books 

 

Happy Birthday FAST FORWARD! My 1 year anniversary of being published :)

It’s my baby’s first birthday! My book baby that is 😉

FAST FORWARD, my debut ro-magic comedy novel that was published on 1st February 2013, is now one year old. Which means, it’s also my publishaversary! (sp?) As if that’s not enough excitement for one day, today, the 1st February 2014 is also the publication day of my new novel (and 5th book), FEBRUARY OR FOREVER! …Stay tuned at 3pm Sydney time for a special release day blog post for that. 🙂

So yay! Triple the celebration!

It’s been a BIG twelve months, and I’m thrilled that readers have had such a positive response to my first book (and my others). Over 100 ratings and over 50 reviews have come in for Fast Forward on Goodreads, which you can read here. You can also see a list of my published books on Goodreads here and add them to your shelves if you wish.

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonHow it all began…

It all started on New Year’s Day 2012. I was wondering which story to write next as I was flipping through a magazine. The next page I turned had an article titled Fast Forward, and I knew instantly that I had to write it, right away! (I had already come up with the title so it was like fate giving me a shove in the right direction). I wrote the first chapter that day, and the character of Kelli was born.

I had so much fun writing this character and her story, starting as a conceited young model and transforming her into a mature, empathetic, nice, well-rounded person (hehe, if you’ve read the book you’ll get that pun) 😉 I also loved writing the quirky secondary characters. I’ve had several readers tell me they fell in love with fifty-year-old Will! He’s such a Superman. 😉

What’s happened since then…

Since publication, Fast Forward became a Number 1 Bestseller in the futuristic category on iTunes, and a Top 100 Bestseller in the romantic comedy category on Amazon UK. It was also a finalist in the women’s fiction category of the Book Junkies Choice Awards, was a Harlequin Junkie Book Club pick, and I recently became a finalist for Favourite New Romance Author in the ARRA Awards. 🙂 It’s great to look back at the year gone and see how things have progressed.

And how appropriate that the cover of FAST FORWARD comes with its own birthday cake?! Saves me having to find a nice cake picture for the blog post! Speaking of covers, I couldn’t be happier with the design the fabulous Harlequin team came up with. The image of a beautiful young woman blowing out a fifty-year-old’s birthday cake is funny and intriguing, and captures the premise of the story perfectly.

…A wonderful thing during this past year was my Nanna being able to read the dedication to her at the front of the book. She passed away a few months later, so I’m glad she got to live long enough to see a book dedicated to her (and she read the book too!).

1206707_thank_youThanks, thanks, and more thanks…

To my publisher, thank you! And to my readers, thank you! Having a book out in the world (and now five), is a dream come true. If you’ve read Fast Forward and enjoyed it, I would love love love if you’d consider telling your friends about it. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend (though some would say coffee and chocolate, but no, I tell you the truth ;)) Just one recommendation can lead to another, and another, and so on, which can help authors to be able to continue writing and publishing books. If you’d like to share, send them a link to this post, or to the book’s page on Amazon, or my publisher’s page where all the various links to different stores are. Cyber hugs to everyone who’s spread the news about Fast Forward and/or my other books, you are the angels of this industry!

If you haven’t read FAST FORWARD yet, you can grab a copy via the links at the bottom of this post, and now I’ll leave you with a few one-liners from the book, followed by an excerpt from a scene that many have said is their favourite:

  • “Fifty?” I blurted, almost choking as the word launched from the slingshot of my voice box. “I’m not fifty! I’m supposed to be twenty five!”
  • Wait … if I was married to William McSnelly, then that would make me … Oh God, no! Kelli McSnelly. Shoot me now.
  • “Liliana, do you believe in … ” I glanced around surreptitiously to make sure there were no men in white jumpsuits getting ready to whisk me away to a facility for middle-aged menopausal psychopaths. “ … time travel?”
  • Automatically reaching for non-existent keys in my non-existent handbag, my hands then flew to my cheeks. How do I unlock the car?
  • I might need support underwear to fit into the support underwear and that could go on and on. I’d be my own Russian doll.

And a brief excerpt from many readers’ favourite scene: the ‘support underwear’ scene…

I grabbed the edge of the fabric again, pulling as hard as I could, but only managed to  squash my face, my upturned nose now practically touching my forehead. I must have looked like one of those criminals who cover their face with stockings. I could rob a bank in this thing, only I’d need an accomplice—or a guide dog—to show me where the hell I was going and possibly an oxygen tank feeding me air through a straw.

Oh my God! What was I going to do? My mind swirled in one chaotic haze, as panic rose within and the chances of getting out of this predicament alive seemed slimmer by the minute. Unlike my abdomen.

Crazy images flashed through my mind of Will finding me passed out on the floor of the bedroom, the magic suit still covering my head, arms still stuck up in the air … paramedics whisking me off to hospital …. Will waiting anxiously outside the operating room and the doctor emerging with an expression of defeat, pulling the mask off his face in resignation.

I’m sorry, Mr McSnelly. We did everything we could. We managed to remove some of it, but couldn’t get it all, I’m afraid. The situation was too far advanced and she couldn’t fight any longer. I’m very sorry.

Will would collapse in tears and the doctor would go back to the operating room and sign my death certificate. Cause of death: Asphyxiation by SlimFX Magic Suit.

A lawsuit—ha! how appropriate—would ensue and, if the suits weren’t taken off the market, they would at least come with a warning on the packet like cigarettes: Use magic suit at own risk. May cause death, deformity, or post-traumatic stress disorder. They’d have a grotesque picture of some poor woman—probably me—trapped in the suit. Others would show gangrenous arms from the circulation being cut off and faces permanently disfigured from the pressure exerted by the suit during its attempted take-off mission. I realised then that I’d have to have a closed coffin at my funeral so as to spare my family from the trauma of seeing me like that. Speaking of coffins, I’d probably need an extra-long one to accommodate my arms, permanently extended above my head from not only the stuck magic suit but also rigor mortis.

~*~

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonFAST FORWARD: Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.

Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?

Buy FAST FORWARD via…

Escape Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon AUSiTunes/iBookstore, Kobo, Google Play, B&N/Nook, JB Hi-Fi.

 

>> Join me this weekend for an online facebook party and chat to celebrate Fast Forward’s birthday and the release of February or Forever: https://www.facebook.com/events/1419435084961712/