Monday 15 April 2013

An 'element' of reader beware...

Today is the official publication date of the first book in the Homeland series, Ask Me To Stay.

I am very proud of this book, and I'm endlessly grateful to those who have already downloaded it. This title was - incredibly - a buzz book on iTunes the day before its official release. I'd love to get the names of everyone who's bought it, knock on their doors and hug them. But, you know... invasion of privacy, and all that.

So instead, I'll say this.

Reader beware.

If you have read any of my other titles, or if you have downloaded this one expecting a certain degree of romance - I need to warn you that Ask Me To Stay is a little different. It focuses almost entirely on the fractured relationship between brothers Ethan and Dean. There is a romance subplot in this novella, but the first in the Homeland series is - to my mind - contemporary/rural fiction with romantic elements.

I think I'm incapable of writing a book which doesn't feature two people falling in love - that's just what keeps me interested in the story. But some of the early reviews of this title seem to suggest that the degree of romance took some readers by surprise.

Read this title to read about family. About redemption and reputation and second chances, both for the heart, and the soul.

Ask Me For More and Ask Me For Tomorrow are infinitely more focused on romance. Ethan and Sam's relationship arc continues throughout the second and third titles as readers explore Cal and Dean's stories; so you will get the romance that you crave. There will be stomach-dropping nerves, black-moments and soul-stirring intimacy.

I promise you all of this and more.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Guest interview with Juanita Kees

I'm delighted to welcome my second guest to The Write Frequency blog; freelance editor and contemporary romance writer, Juanita Kees. Juanita's first title, Fly Away Peta, was released by Eternal Press in August 2012, and her second title, Under The Hood, was released last month with Escape Publishing. Juanita has been patient enough to answer my many and varied questions, and has supplied an excerpt of her latest release. Read on to learn more about this talented author, and find out what she's up to next.

Describe yourself in four words:
Creative writing cleaning fairy

Are characters’ names in your novel important?
Absolutely! For some reason, the name always comes to me first.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Yes, chocolate belly, numb bum, and a crick in the neck from falling asleep on the keyboard :)

Do you write around anything? i.e. day job, kids…
I wish I could! I’m easily distracted by Facebook, the telly or radio, so I like to have complete silence when I write.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Insanity (you can’t go insane if you’re already there, can you?), a sense of humour, chocolate, wine and a husband who can cook and clean.

Was there a lot of research needed for you novel?
Yes. I spent a lot of time researching the Young Australian League, Police & Citizens' Youth Clubs and of course, the history of Holden. I had to get my facts straight :)

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
Heaps! We grew up on books and story-telling. My dad is a wonderful storyteller and Mum is a big fan of romance novels.

What are books for?
Reading, loving, cherishing and escaping the real world.

Are you fun to go on a holiday with?
You might have to ask my family that one J I get a bit cranky on aeroplanes…

If the story on the front page of the newspaper was about you, what would the headline say?
Crazy Author begs Sexy Policeman to Arrest Her

Do you work better with a word-count goal or time period goal?
Time period – word counts scare me :)

What is the most amount of words you’ve written in a day?

If your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Scott – Hugh Jackman
TJ – Sandra Bullock

Strangest place you’ve been writing?
In front of the bathroom mirror using my eyeliner pencil – true story :)

The most untimely moment when inspiration struck?
On the back of a motorcycle in sub- zero temperatures and our first stop 100km away.

Does your book have a theme song?
What about Me – Shannon Noll’s version

Do your friends ever recognise themselves in your books?
No, but my husband likes to think he’s the role model for the love scenes :)

If you could swap this world for your "book world," would you?
I could answer that but I might end up in very hot water!

How many books are in your TRB pile?
How long is a piece of string? :)

Craziest thing you ever ate?
In my wild youth, I once ate a snake we cooked over the campfire and washed it down with coffee that looked and tasted like tar…eew.

When all is said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
That’s highly likely J Sometimes the days just aren’t long enough…

To what degree have you controlled the course of your life?
The nth degree.

Would you agree to reduce your life expectancy by ten years if it meant becoming extremely attractive or famous?
Definitely not…I’d rather be an old man’s darling than a young man’s fool :)

Under The Hood Blurb:

When Scott Devin buys a struggling car dealership in semi-rural Western Australia, the last person he expects to see in charge is a stilletto-wearing, mini-skirted foreperson. Exactly the distraction a struggling, male-dominated workshop doesn’t need! But there’s more to TJ Stevens than meets the eye.
TJ Stevens has two major goals in life: to preserve her grandfather’s heritage and protect her teenage rehabilitation program — and she’ll go to any lengths to do it. Scott Devin’s presence is a threat to everything she’s worked hard to achieve, so keeping him at arms-length shouldn’t be a problem…or will it? 

Under The Hood Excerpt:

All the way up her steep driveway, he had a view of her perfectly rounded butt encased in snug fitting denim. All she had to do was wiggle that lovely butt and she’d have him panting at her feet, he thought wryly.  As she veered off the driveway towards a massive shed, he tried to remember the invisible line…and the rules. She dragged the heavy door back on its sliding groove and snapped on the light.  Industrial lighting blinded him momentarily as it revealed a beautifully restored 1953 Holden FJ utility. 

“Meet Bruce, the love of Sheila’s life,” TJ said waving her hand. 

Bruce and Sheila. He shook his head as he watched her snag a polish cloth off the work bench nearby and rub at the chrome badge on the hood. Scott stepped up to run a hand over the smooth cream fender before strolling around to admire the rear.

“New look tail light lens, original name badge, original hubcaps. Are these real white-walls?” He moved around the car. “Modified grille, genuine leather upholstery...” he noted in awe.  “Where did you get all this stuff?”

“...Straight-six grey motor with modified, longer-life pistons and torsional type compression rings,” she finished for him.  “I worked a lot of extra hours to pay for those parts.”

“Do you plan to do the same for Sheila?” He paused with his hand on the polished chrome door handle to look at her as she leaned a hip against the work bench.

“Yes.” She hooked the key off a nail above the work bench and tossed it to him. “Start him up.”

Scott didn’t need a second invitation. He caught the key neatly and opened the door to slide in behind the wheel as TJ popped the hood. He turned the key and the motor purred to life. He got out and stood next to her.

“Purrs like a kitten.” He ducked his head under the hood and turned his left ear closer to catch the sound. “Smooth as silk.”

TJ beamed. “Hours of fine tuning and good grade oil.”

“You know your stuff,” he said. He straightened and their shoulders touched. There it was again. That zing that couldn’t – shouldn’t – be acknowledged. Yes, she’d crawled right in under his defenses, this enigma that was TJ Stevens. A puzzle he could spend hours trying to solve. Her lack of self-awareness, her energy and enthusiasm, and the fierce pride that came to the fore when challenged – all these traits stirred his senses.

TJ felt his gaze on her face and ignored the pleasant shiver it sent tingling up her spine. She saw the hand he raised and felt his knuckles brush her cheek. She stepped out of reach.

“Mind your hands, Scott. I’ll drop the hood.”

What I’m working on now:
You met him in Fly Away Peta. He starts a murder investigation in Under the Hood. When will Detective Mark Johnson have his chance at happiness and what’s next for the bad guys? Find out over at Romance Book Haven.


Thanks for visiting the blog, Juanita!


Thursday 4 April 2013

My first fabulous guest on The Write Frequency, author Ros Baxter

I'm very excited to welcome Harper Collins Australia and Escape Publishing author, Ros Baxter, as my first guest on The Write Frequency. I'm fortunate enough to have her answering a few questions and sharing some information about her latest release, Fish Out of Water, available now from Escape Publishing.

Refresh your beverage of choice, sit back and enjoy Ros's fun interview.

Describe yourself in four words?
Busy (busy, busy, busy). Noisy (genetic). Affectionate (love a cuddle). Sleep-deprived. (Does a hyphenation count as one word?).

Do you write around anything? i.e. day job, kids…
I write around everything – four kids, a day job, a charity, and several voluntary roles.  But, as my mother, multi-tasker extraordinaire, always said:  you want something done, give it to a busy person.
Texting was invented for people like me. I have a thumb the size of a pumpkin.

Does your computer/iPad/laptop (choose one) have a name?
Sir. (In my head, it’s kind of bossy. I blame 50 Shades...)

Who would play you in a film of your life?
My daughter (when she’s a little older).  She does THE BEST impression of me.  Not particularly flattering, but accurate.  Loud.  Bossy.  But lots of cuddles.

Biggest writing-related mistake?
The first book I wrote was what I used to fondly call “kinda tangential”.  I had to learn that what works telling drunken stories to your mates doesn't necessarily translate to the page. 
For a start, you can’t scream at readers to “lissenup” if they’re getting bored...

Have you ever read/seen yourself as a character in a book/movie?
I think this is possibly one of those perspective things. Yes, I have definitely seen myself (dreamed myself?)as a character in a novel. Some flawed romantic heroine of course – you know: Catherine from Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina et cetera.
My kids, however, possibly have a different perspective, depending on the day:  Mrs Dursley from Harry Potter, The Wicked Witch of the West, and various other killjoys.
My husband would probably cast a vote for some character who can’t say no and drinks too much wine.  Probably someone played by Meg Ryan (although I only wish my hair was that good).
And my friends would choose someone who frequently ends up in a muddle: Bridget Jones, Alison Scott from Knocked Up, and so on.

Are you fun to go on a holiday with?
Hell yeah!  If your idea of fun is lying in bed all day reading books in your pyjamas (oops, that’s my idea of fun)!!

If the story on the front page of the newspaper was about you, what would the headline say?

Strangest place you’ve been writing?
I write everywhere – toilet, kitchen, kids swimming lessons, bed.  Strangest (as in, most unusual) place would probably be at my computer.

Many thanks Elise for having me.  Love the questions, and love your work!

Ros :)

You can email Ros at or find her at, on twitter @RosBaxter, or

“It’s  Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets Splash in a sexy, smart-talking debut about a mermaid in a desert, a city under water, and the secret that no-one is supposed to uncover.”

Fish out of Water
Dirtwater's straight-talking Deputy Sheriff has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that's a serious liability for a mermaid, a solider-of-fortune ex who's hooked on her Mom's brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Oh, and one other thing.

She's scheduled to die on her thirtieth birthday - in three weeks - unless she can 'change the course of destiny and save the world entire'. Throw in a Mom who's the local Mayor and a Dad who's been locked in the county jail for twelve years, and that's all the trouble she needs without her mermaid roots coming back to haunt her.

Rania's heading home to Aegira for a family wedding but she's starting to have a sinking feeling that's got nothing to do with hydroporting seven miles under the sea and everything to do with some weird connections that seem to be emerging between her, the dead blonde, her Mom's shady past and a ten thousand year old prophesy. Now if she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegirian priest off her case, work out who the hell's trying to kill her and stop sleeping with the fishes, she might be able to unravel the prophesy, the mystery of the missing choirgirls and the secrets hidden in her Mom's past. And maybe even save her own ass while she's at it.

Fish Out of Water is available from Escape Publishing, or Amazon. Find out more at


          The mildewy pink curtain billowed forward and a large shape crashed to the floor, right between Missy and me, wrapped in the voluminous plastic.  Missy screamed.
My heart tapped out a tango and one hand went to my Glock without any conscious command as I tried to disentangle the curtain from the lumpy shape.
As I pulled it free, I had one of those moments.  You know the ones.  Where everything slows down and you know that for the rest of your life you’ll be able to describe it in vivid technicolor.  Like the time I turned on the tv and saw that plane crashing into the towers.
He was almost supernaturally beautiful.  And naked.  A long trickle of thick red blood ran from the side of one temple down to a graceful jaw.
And he was lying on the floor half in and half out of Missy’s teeming shower.
Had he been there, in the shower, the whole time?
“Sweet Jesus,” Missy whistled, clearly impressed as she studied the region I was studiously avoiding.  As beautiful as he was, it didn’t seem right to be copping an eyeful.
Especially when he seemed to be in pretty bad shape.
He was long and lean, dark blonde and strong like a runner.  Golden hair glistened on his wet, brown body, but he was curled like a fetus and moaning softly.  Something about the sight of him, which should have screamed “get the pervert outta here”, touched me right down inside. Right down in my belly.  And lower.  I wanted to cover him up.  I wanted to help him. And some parts of me wanted to do other things too, but I wasn’t giving them any airtime.