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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… 😉 

 

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/