Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Release Day for Cosmetic Heart

I've been checking my emails almost every hour the last few days in anticipation of the release of my novel, Cosmetic Heart. My son woke me up at three this morning with a complaint about a tick from his cat so I grabbed for my phone quickly to check if it had come out. Sure enough, there was an email waiting there for me from the publisher. I struggled to go back to sleep after that.

Cosmetic Heart had a tumultuous journey in coming to being. Last year, for Nanowrimo, I buckled down and focused on getting a whole book done in the month of November. It was hard, especially seeing I actually didn't have the whole month but had to finish early to start writing exams for my kids. And in between that, I was sick with a spider bite (although I'm still not sure what bit me.) Somehow, the words kept on flowing and I even made my poor heroine, Lisa, also get bitten by a spider and get cellulitis like me. The good thing was, Dan fussed over her and looked after her while she was sick which brought them even closer. Although it also made all of Lisa's fears about a long-term relationship come to the surface.

The editing for my novel was quite a challenge. As seems the case with most of my books, (wink, wink,) they often need a strong content edit. Somehow, my characters do the strangest things sometimes. But after several run throughs, I finally felt confident that my book was neat and clean.

I really feel grateful to Katherine Tate, Supervising Editor, who was patient with all my changes right near the end.

The most fun parts of writing this novel were the research bits about cosmetics that you will find at the start of several chapters, some of the secondary characters and I loved the hero, Dan. Lisa really gave him a run around. A bit like me with my hubby who had to ask me to marry him three times and even then I said, "Wait, I'm not ready yet."

So, here it is. The cover for my new novel and the blurb.

Lisa works for a top South African magazine as the make-up artist, but writes articles on the quiet. When the chief editor, Daniel, asks for her help in posing as his ex-fiancĂ©e to save face with his family, Lisa agrees, hoping to obtain a promotion in return. She doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome editor nor to fit in with his family who love her unconditionally. But Lisa has more secrets, and she doesn’t believe in love and family. After Daniel finds out her secrets, will his forgiveness and determination be enough to cut through all the layers Lisa has put over her heart?

Buy links:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Movie Review and a taste of Book 2 of The Creators

One of my favourite movies of all time is "Love Comes Softly." It's a Hallmark made for TV movie so is probably an unknown to many people but I love it so much. I have to confess I'm such a softy that I cry so easily in movies. My family teases me constantly but I just can't help it. This is a movie where I cry almost throughout the whole thing.

What I love about this movie is that you're taken right into the very soul and emotions of the main character, Marty, and then close second into Missy's heart, the young mother-less girl. Marty has traveled west with her new husband, Aaron, to find a new home in early American history. They are just about to obtain land to settle after the long wagon journey, and Aaron, one morning, goes out to find his missing horse. On the way, he falls off the horse and hits his head on a rock. Marty loses her new husband that day and has to face a new life in the wild west all alone while dealing with her devastating grief.

Clark Davis' daughter, Missy, needs a female figure to look up to after her mother passed away. Clark gives Marty the absolutely least-romantic wedding proposal I've ever seen on TV. In the rain, by her late husband's grave, he asks her to marry him so she can look after his daughter and offers to give her money for her passage back east come spring. In a financially desperate situation, Marty agrees.

Missy is very resistant to Marty at first. I don't want to share the rest with you, but the story is a beautiful romance between Clark and Marty as well as a wonderful story of a girl finding the love of a mother again in Marty (after much quarrelling and resistance.) Maybe the reason I can identify so much with Missy is because I lost my mother at a young age, too.

"Love Comes Softly" reminds me a little of Book Two of "The Creators" series that I'm working on at the moment - a follow-on of "Dragonfly Moments." Rowena is a ballet teacher and Jamey is her most difficult student. On the week of her mother's passing, she takes her frustration out on Jamey. Jamey's father comes in a few days later to speak to Rowena. When he asks for her to give Jamey extra lessons, Rowena at first is reluctant until Cameron tells her how his daughter is missing her late mother. Rowena's grief of losing her mother fresh in her heart, suddenly identifies with her worst pupil just like Marty identified with Missy missing her mother. She agrees.

Much more patient with her pupil, they develop an immediate report. Jamey, who has her Dad wrapped around her little finger, keeps on pursuading him to invite Rowena over. Little does she know how much her Dad is fighting his strong attraction to Rowena while struggling to get over the memories of his late wife.

I won't let you know any more of my story as it's not even complete yet. I can't wait to get stuck into completing this gentle story of love and family.

If you're keen on watching the movie which is also part of a series, here is the link: Love Comes Softly
Here is the link to the book series which are inspirational: Book Series by Janette Oke

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post - Clare Dargin

Today, I'm hosting Clare Dargin, a fellow Decadent Publishing author. She writes science fiction with a romantic twist. Today, she is talking about her book "Ice and Peace" which came out in April 2013 and is book two of her "Cold Warriors" series. She also wrote "Kybernatia," "Fugue," "Speculative Sky," and "Zenward's Magic."

So, welcome, Clare.

A Love So Close You Can Feel It

There's something about a hot guy in uniform who's touchable but at the same time out of reach. That kind of man was on my mind when I wrote Colonel Medoro Keegan in Cold Warriors. A man who has chosen to be an island onto himself, he is in a sea of humanity, yet is alone.

Unlike some heroes of this sort, they have no friends and live on the fringes of society. Keegan is anything but that. He has two very good friends whom he trusts, he is respected by his colleagues and is considered to be on the career fast track but on the inside, he feels like a hamster on a wheel. He's going through the motions but he ain't going anywhere.

All that changes when Caitlin Driskoll enters his life. In the beginning just a 'passenger' in a cargo manifest, she is but one of many who are to be sent out as cannon fodder for a military with dwindling numbers. In a frozen stasis for nearly a hundred years, because of a long gone medical fad, she awakens to find she has been recruited to fight in a war she knows nothing about.

From day one, her strength and her annoyance has been the light that shone in an otherwise darkened existence. Attracted to her, he fights between the rules of his job and society which says they can't speak, much less touch. They both struggle to not only survive but to explore the attraction they feel for each other.

In the second book, Ice and Peace:

A New Threat? After a long and vicious war, peace is on the horizon for Earth and its allies. However, a series of mysterious attacks on several secret military installations causes hostilities to rise once again.

Redemption. Having left under a cloud of disgrace, retired Marine Colonel Medoro Keegan is called back to duty.

Bound. His wife Caitlin, the only surviving member of her team, chooses to embrace life, albeit grudgingly, as a cryo soldier. Seen as sub-human, she is forced to serve a planet that denies her rights as a person.

Driven. Guided by their sense of duty and belief that some things are bigger than them, they are determined to risk it all.

Hope. The cost of war is high. Can their love and marriage survive? Or will it be killed off by the very same mission that brought them together?

Excerpt for Ice and Peace

“Sir,” a soft voice, feminine and sweet, beckoned his attention. He knew the voice, like he knew himself. His heart skipped a beat.

Rising slowly from his chair, Keegan cleared his throat and straightened his uniform. Suddenly, the room seemed unbearably long as he walked the three feet or so to be near her.

As he took in every detail of her, he was stunned silent. She wore a Marine Corps uniform with Navy insignia, with her hair neatly pinned off her neck and shoulders. Her clothes were pressed with a crease that could cut a major artery and her demeanor was impeccable. Something was not right.

Still, Caitlin was a sight for sore eyes. She was beautiful. Her petite frame was perfectly accented by the curves of her figure. And her brown eyes and coffee-brown skin was smooth, creamy.

Standing at attention, she did not meet his gaze. Though it was customary not to do as a sign of military courtesy, he could tell she was not doing it for that reason. Her gaze was different. Circling her, he tried to see if he could catch her watching him out of the corner of her eye. In fact, she appeared to be staring blankly ahead.

Peering directly at her, he spoke in a soft tone. “At ease.”

She relaxed.

“Cate. Can you hear me?”

“Yes, sir,” she responded mechanically.

Pain pierced his insides. She was definitely not there. Keegan placed his hands on his hips and hung his head in defeat. The one thing that was supposed to go right did not. For whatever reason, they had placed her in a deeper state of mental control than she’d ever been in. He controlled the hostile emotions brewing with him. Touching her face gently, he felt her icy skin.

This is unacceptable! Not here. I will not let this happen here. Not under my command.

“Chief, listen up,” he said in an authoritative tone. He knew in this state, it was the only way he could speak to her and still have her respond.

“Yes, sir.” Her gaze became even more distant.

Her response fueled his anger. “You are going to hightail it down to the doc and receive a full examination. Tell him it is based on my orders. He will know what to do. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

Knowing that she was under the influence of cryo neurotransmitters, Keegan figured the only way to combat it was to get someone to reverse it. They usually wore off once she was away from the stimulus triggers for a long period of time. But considering her stimulus triggers were high-ranking officers in uniform and combat situations, being around here meant she was going to be in a drone zone for a very long time. The last thing he needed was a zombie on board, especially one in charge of the lives others.

Only the jerks in psyche warfare thought doing this to someone would be a good idea. As long as he was running the ship, none of that would be allowed. There weren’t going to be any super zombies soldiers on board his ship. And he’d rollover in his grave before he let them do it to his wife.

“After you come back from the doc, you will report to me, understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are there any questions?”

“No, sir.”


She did an about face before leaving the room. Keegan clasped his hands behind his back. In the blink of an eye, his joy had turned to sorrow. Now faced with the responsibility of looking after his wife, he wondered how could he handle the burden of command and still protect the woman he loved.

You can purchase Ice and Peace at Decadent Publishing and Amazon.
For the sci-fi lover in you, connect with Clare at:
The Embraced Blog
Clare's Blog
Yahoo Group

Friday, July 12, 2013

Author Interview - Zrinka Jelic

Today, I'm excited to have an author interview on my blog with Zrinka Jelic, a writer of a variety of romance genres from historical to time travel. She's answered some of my questions about writing and her latest book, Love Remains.

1. What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
To write, to let my fingers fly over the keyboard and let the story come out on the page. I do like to edit as well. It gives me the chance to go over that first draft and flesh out the scenes, the characters. Each time I edit, the story and its characters come more alive and jump off the page.

2. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
It’s hard to keep the story interesting and with each chapter, to keep it turning up instead of down. That is why it’s important to map the story out before starting. Not necessarily plot it out in every detail, but just to get the main points down. If stuck, I take a break from it. I know that the direction of where to take it next will spring before me and when it does, then I move on. There’s nothing worse than trying to force the story out. I need to wait until the ideas pop in my head. So far it hasn’t disappointed.

3. What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write romances and within that, there are many subgenres. My debut novel, Bonded by Crimson, is a paranormal romance. My second novel, Treasured Chest, is a historical romance, and my newest release, Love Remains, is a time travel romance, but with a different twist. In time travels, the hero/heroine usually travel back in time, but in Love Remains my heroine goes forward where she is shown the way her life would be if she gave the love a fair chance. Would she learn her lesson and sacrifice her promising career for family when she is returned to her time?

4. What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
Writing requires lots of research and it could be distracting once you set on the journey to research one topic only to end up someplace you never intended to go. But that’s the internet, I suppose.

5. Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
It would be hard to single out one of them and not mention the others. I like Kate in Bonded by Crimson for her determination. Sirena (Carmen) in Treasured Chest is a bad ass pirate, got to love her. And Olivia in Love Remains is a hard cookie, corporate ladder climber, but with her back firmly pressed against the wall, she can adapt to any situation, even changing diapers.

6. What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I’d say a combination of both, but I do try to make them to be totally different. I mean, super alpha is nice and wounded soul is all right, but there are so many books out there with characters like these. I want to give it a fresh voice. Matthias in Bonded by Crimson is not entirely immortal and not a vampire, but after he struggled to figure out what he is and where he fits, he just learned to accept it and move on. Captain Marko in Treasured Chest is legendary for his seduction skills, but he dreams of a woman who’d put his skills to the test and he finds her — in a pirate. Tom in Love Remains is just a typical fatherly man, he cooks and cleans, and is amazing in bed.

7. Tell us about your journey in writing your book.
The inspiration came after I’d been laid off jobs solely due to the fact that I had to stay home with my sick children, and I was not offered the position, nor the extension of the contract after I informed my employer that I was having a baby. I understand the struggle between having to stay at home with young children and going to work to earn that pay check. Often there’s no choice and the stress of leaving your child with a stranger(s) is stomach wrenching. But the employers make things even more difficult by scrutinizing you for taking a day off here and there to deal with a sick child.

Love Remains
Olivia Owen, a busy, single, high-functioning, corporate executive officer, is not afraid to die a spinster for the sake of her career. But in an alternate reality world, bridged by the angel of her sister with Down syndrome, she meets Tom Medar, a dedicated, Croatian defense attorney who dreams of the right woman, but never has time to find her. Together, they foil an adulterous murder plot while discovering there’s room for love and family in their busy lives - but not before they are separated again.

When they awaken from their alternate world, will they be able to cross countries to find each other again?

You can buy Love Remains at Amazon, Amazon UK and Crimson Romance from the 15th July.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

I'm joining in a fun blog tour of sharing summer recipes and a little bit about ourselves as authors. Thank you to Rae Rivers, author of "The Keepers: Archer" published by Harper Collins Impulse. She tagged me in her Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop.

I'm in the middle of winter here in the southern hemisphere but what's the harm in sharing some refreshing recipes? We've had a very mild winter this year with only one week of frost and ice in our taps. I keep on waiting for the cold to arrive. It will probably smack us in the face with a snowfall in spring like it did about ten years ago in the town where I live. It doesn't snow often here so it's quite an occasion.

The recipe we share should coincide with our book release coming up. Interestingly enough, my book starts off right in the middle of African summer which can be scorching hot. Lisa agrees to pose as her boss's fiancee for his family New Year celebrations and while suffering heat exhaustion, she also falls for her handsome, playboy boss against her life plans. But Lisa's heart is much harder to win than Dan could ever realise as he begins to discover just how right she is for him, more than any other woman.

I don't have an exact release date but my book is due out near the end of this month. I can't wait.

Anyway, I'm going off topic. I think a refreshing homemade lemonade would have cooled Lisa down after she suffered heat exhaustion. Maybe she would have finished the whole jug seeing everyone else could swim in the pool while she had to sit under the awning. But Carine, Dan's mom, would have gladly made her another. See a recipe below. Now, I'm going to answer a few questions.

1)When writing, are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?
I generally don't snack much when I write. If I do, it's mostly sweet things like dark chocolate, chewing gum, or maybe dried apricots.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies?
I'm a pants person - hate planning too much. Or could you say jeans or skirts? I don't like staying in my jammies all day. They're sacred to me. And besides, I'm not too keen on greeting an unexpected visitor in my pyjamas.

3)When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?
The more I've baked, the more brave I've become to experiment. Oftentimes, I don't have the ingredients on hand or can't even get hold of them so have to improvise. So yes, I have learned to change things. If the mixture looks too dry, I add more liquid, or if it's too wet, I add more dry ingredients. One thing I don't change is the baking powder. Most recipes ask for far too much sugar or cinnamon so I lower that or even cut out the cinnamon altogether. I have even posted my own paleo recipes on Fast Paleo but they're not great. I don't think I would have the patience to actually keep a food blog but have considered it.

4) What is next for you after this book?
I'm working on two books at the moment. I have another book coming out in September - it's a follow-on from Wedding Gown Girl - Elaine, the bridesmaid's story. That truly was an absolute blast to write!

5) Last Question...on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?
Probably in the tame old one. But there's plenty of steam in the hearts.

Recipe warning!

My kids love this lemonade and it's so easy to make. Not exactly healthy with all the sugar but the Vitamin C loaded inside would come in handy.



1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice (the freshly squeezed type is even better)
3 cups water, extra


Combine sugar and water in a small pan, stir over low heat without boiling until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for two minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and stand for 30 minutes. Strain the lemon mixture into a large jug and add extra water. Refridgerate until required. It makes four cups.

I'm only tagging Zee Monodee (although she's already been tagged) for this one and tagging back to Rae Rivers.