Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Winners

Well, we have some winners of the blog hop.

Here they are:

$20 Amazon card - Galinda Barefoot 
Dragonfly Moments and Dead of the Night - Christy Dunkin
Taking Pleasure Seriously and Broken Destiny - Amy Bowens
Harcourt's Mountain and Brent's Law - Sumi Singh

Congrats and thank you for taking part. You will be contacted shortly by the authors. I'll send Galinda the card as soon as possible.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine Blog Hop 2015 with Giveaway

For Valentine's Day this year, a group of South African romance writers have gotten together to share about our books and about love. Our theme is finding love in unexpected places.

Have you ever found love in an unexpected place?

I couldn't really say that I found love in an unexpected place. At the time I met my husband, I was very involved in the contemporary church scene. Most, if not all the people I hung around with, belonged to the church. And that's where I met Kevin. We both noticed each other along the same aisle, and one time, we had to hold hands for prayer and I was sitting next to him. Kind of enjoyed that moment. He really did do something unexpected - he offered me a lift and pretty much didn't let me go after that even when I made things really difficult for him.

In my new release which comes out tomorrow, Cameron and Rowena find love in unexpected places. Or could I say at a seemingly inopportune time. Cameron is still grieving his late wife. He's working in Zambia on a short work contract. He's certainly not looking for love, but when he watches his daughter's ballet teacher dance, something stirs in his soul. She's beautiful just like his late ballerina wife, but in a different way - in a raw, real, emotional way.

Rowena's certainly not looking for love. Specially in the father who criticizes her for shouting at his difficult daughter who's her most difficult student. When she finds out that Jamey doesn't have a mom, compassion fills her. A bond soon forms between the young child and her teacher - more than just a teacherly bond. Cameron sees the way Rowena is with his daughter and wants to run a mile. He's worried his daughter's going to have her heart broken when he leaves Zambia soon.

Here's a quick snippet from the book. To keep to the Valentine's theme, I've put in an excerpt of the first kiss:

“You disappeared.” Rowena stood there dripping, goose bumps on her arms. Her lips were tinged blue, but her eyes shone. Water dripped off her nose, and for a moment, he wished to kiss her but held back.
“I couldn’t stand here watching you having fun like a real stick-in-the-mud.”
“Daddy, Daddy, it’s such fun. It gets really fast near the end, and the water sprays up all over your face, and you think you’re going to flip onto your stomach as the last few bends are very windy. But it’s so cool. Let’s go.”
They all walked up the steep path to the ride, and a few butterflies fluttered in his stomach. Okay, he’d been quite adventurous when younger, but it had been years since he’d done anything physical like this, where he lost control of his senses and movements. Rowena was used to physical challenges being a dancer. Don’t be such a wuss.
Once he’d stepped into the rushing water after Jamey, the ride took over, and he yelled as he dipped and swayed. Rowena laughed in response. The cold water spiked his heartbeat. I haven’t had so much fun in years.
Once in the pool, he waded up to them. “How awesome.”
“Want to go again, Daddy?”
“Of course.”
Up they went again. They took the ride ten times before Cameron began to feel exhausted. He wasn’t young like Jamey, nor fit like Rowena.
“I’ll wait here for you. You both go ahead,” he said.
“You sure?”
“I’m pooped. We’d better start heading home soon as it’s getting quite cool and there’s a bit of a drive.”
“Aah,” Jamey said.
“We could come another time,” he added.
“Could we? This was the funnest day I’ve ever had.”
He laughed and squeezed her cheek. Rowena smiled at him, her gentle eyes alight with goodness. He took in her clear complexion, the light brown flecks in her eyes. Her mouth was full, pink, and ripe to be touched. He moved forward to kiss her, ignoring the consequences. She pulled away slightly, but he grabbed her by the waist and gently tugged her toward him. Finding her beautiful mouth, he pressed his lightly against it and breathed in her scent mixed with water and sun cream. Her lips were gloriously soft and pliable, and her form against him brought long-lost sensations back to life. For a moment, she responded and kissed him back then Jamey shouted.
“What you doing, Daddy? Aren’t we going on a ride?”
The spell broke. He pulled away, the implications of what he’d done crashing down on his head. He glanced at Rowena, but she’d already turned away and followed Jamey up the path. What had he done? What did Jamey think? Would Rowena back off now? She was his daughter’s ballet teacher. Since when had he been overcome with such impulsiveness? Even with Samantha, it had taken months before he’d made a move on her, all the while wondering if such a stunning creature would ever go for him. With Rowena, he hadn’t had time to think. The compulsion to kiss her, to feel her, and connect with her had been overpowering.
He sank back into the water and ducked his head under, hoping to hide his embarrassment. Good thing the pool had emptied by the late hour. Maybe not good, because he couldn’t hide in a crowd. Holding his breath, he swam through the shallow water, touching the bottom with his fingertips. He had to pretend nothing had happened, pretend this new longing inside of him didn’t exist. Their relationship wouldn’t work. He’d end up hurting her, and she couldn’t suffer another pain now, with the recent loss of her mother. He could tell the woman had been deeply attached to her mom. His body shook with the cold, so he resurfaced. The sun had gone behind a cloud. Time to go home. Time to get on with life and forget the fun of today, the escape from all the burdens he’d experienced, for the first time in over a year.
Time to be a real man and take responsibility.
Annoyingly though, he could still taste her, and her scent seemed to be glued to the inside of his nose.

You can buy The Dance of the Firefly here:

Google Play:

To take part in the giveaway and win some awesome prizes, you can comment below or on any of the other blogs for the hop. (Please don't forget to put in your email address so we can contact you if you win.) I'm giving away book 1 of The Creators. The Dance of the Firefly is Book 2. Here are the prizes:

A grand prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card
An ebook copy of Dragonfly Moments by Kathy Bosman (Kindle or PDF) - contemporary romance
An ebook copy of Brent's Law (Kindle, epub or PDF) by Ylette Pearson - erotic romance
An ebook copy of Taking Pleasure Seriously by AngelĂ© Wells and Phoenix Kelly (epub or PDF) - erotic romance
Signed copy of The Broken Destiny (South Africa only) by Carlyle Labuschagne - science fiction romance
An ebook of Dead of Night by Carylyle Labuschagne - science fiction romance
An ebook of Harcourt's Mountain by Elaine Dodge - historical romance.

The prize winners will be announced on our blogs on the 15th and on Facebook.

Here are the links to the other blogs. The more blogs you stop by and comment on, the more chances you have to win.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zambia and Marie Dry

I was really excited to discover that Marie Dry, one of the ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa) writers lived in Zambia some of the time I lived there. What a coincidence. Maybe we walked past one another a couple of times!

We've decided to do a fun thing together. We both have new releases and are going to talk about Zambia and our new releases on each other's blogs. So, today, I have Marie Dry talking about her experiences in Zambia and her new book, Alien Under Cover. You can purchase it here.

I've read the first in the series, Alien Mine. What a gripping and fascinating romance.

Anyway, over to Marie who has answered some questions about Zambia and her new book:

It's a really small world, I couldn't believe when I joined ROSA that we were both living in Zambia at the same time.

When exactly were you there?

I was posted at the South African Embassy from 1994 to 1998

What is the best memory you have of Zambia?

The friendliness of the Zambians, Jailin the restaurant at the tennis club that served chicken butter masala I can still taste whenever I think of it.

What is the worst memory you have of Zambia?

Potholes the size of craters and frequent power cuts.

Have you always planned to set a story there or did the idea come to you and then you decided on a setting?

I have always planned to set a story in Zambia and I have a germ of an idea but there are several other stories that have to be told first.

Have you ever been back to Zambia? If not would you like to?

No I haven't been back but I would love to go and eat chicken butter masala at Jailin and see if any of my favorite places still exist.

You have been posted to Zambia, Morocco and Spain and did short stints in Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Rome, Brazil, Tunisia and Portugal. Why do you always say that Zambia so close to your heart?

It was my first posting. I was young and inexperienced but I loved the country and the people. There were quite a few of us the same age at the Embassy and we had wonderful weekends visiting a friends farm and going on houseboats on the Kariba dam and going dancing and to the movies in Harare that was a few hours drive from Lusaka. I remember the Lusaka Lowdown putting out reports on potholes. I think the one in one of the major roads were called Bessie. Each month we got updates on the new children Bessie had, namely smaller potholes around her. 

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

In a bleak and apocalyptic future, Julia Benzoni flees the violence-saturated world of her mafia family to build a peaceful life in a No Name Town, Montana. Now, while civilization disintegrates into anarchy around her and evil men prey on the innocent, she’s pursued by an alien, whose warrior life thrusts her back into the world where might makes right and violence is the order of the day. Torn, she now has to choose between her need to distance herself from war and violence and the alien warrior who holds her heart.

What did you like the most and the least about your main characters

I loved Julia and her ability with equipment. I know just enough to use my computer as an overgrown typewriter so I loved her being able to hack inot any system. Zurian broke my heart when I learned his story eventually. The only thing driving me crazy about them was the way they hid from me for months on end while I tried to write their story.

What is next for you?

I am editing Wing Torn and have just finished I am dragon. I can't wait to edit and submit my dragon. I really enjoyed writing her journey. After that I will return to the Alien series and write Larz and Marcie's story.

Here's some info about the first book in the series, Alien Mine:


In a bleak future where government systems are breaking down and lawless bands of men terrorize the country, botanist Natalie Hanson fears for her life and hides in a cave in the Rocky Mountains. When she is captured by human raiders, a fierce alien appears and slays her attackers. Natalie is now held captive in her own cave by the sexy and striking alien commander, Zacar, who informs her that she will be his breeder. Natalie soon realizes that these aliens worship strength. So what will happen when Zacar finds out she has severe asthma?

Buy here.

You can connect with Marie here:

To find out my answers to the questions about Zambia, you can go to Marie's blog here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine Blog Hop 2015

To make Valentine's Day extra special this year, a group of romance authors are joining together to have a blog hop. We're talking about our books and "finding love in unexpected places." And there'll be plenty of prizes to be won! So don't miss out.

Here's a list of who will be taking part:

Angele Wells - 12 February
Carlyle Labuschagne - 12 February
Phoenix Kelly - 13 February
Kathy Bosman - 13 February
Ylette Pearson - 14 February
Elaine Dodge - 14 February

Possibly more participants to follow.

On the 15th, we will announce the winners.

We will have one grand prize and several smaller prizes. The grand prize will be an Amazon gift card of about $30 - we haven't come up with the final figure yet. We will also have a handful of smaller prizes of ebooks. And we have one signed print book! You can enter by commenting on the blog posts! The more blogs you comment on, the more entries you get into the competition. Multiple comments on each blog post don't count but you're welcome to comment more than once if you have something interesting to say!

So, diarise the dates and join our fun hop!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Share the Love Blog Hop

Today, I'm taking part in the Share the Love Blog Hop and Giveaway hosted by Anna of Herding Cats and Burning Soup.

It's such a fun idea. I'm not pimping my books, or promoting myself at all. Hooray, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

I'm going to shout out for some of my awesome author friends today. And, psst...

They don't even know. It's a surprise!

And I'm offering a giveaway on my blog of my first book in The Creators Series, Dragonfly Moments. You'll need to comment and you can also link back to the other blogs to take part in their giveaways.

First off, Carole Avila. She writes romance, horror, all sorts. She's a great writer friend who always wants to help out. I've read her romance, and wow, what a wonderful time travel story. It's called Eve's Amulet. You can find Carole here.

Next up, Rae Rivers. I've met her in person and she's so lovely. She writes paranormal romance and her books have hit the shelves here in South Africa which is a wonderful achievement for romance! I can't wait to get a hold of the whole series. I've read the first one and wow! Full of suspense. You can find her books here and she blogs here.

Third is Inge Saunders, whose debut novel with Decadent Publishing is doing so well. It's a lovely contemporary romance set in South Africa and full of honest, tangible characters. Inge is my go to when I'm feeling blue about my writing. You can find her book here and she blogs here.

I can't leave out Elsa Winckler who is such a kind person - she always bends over backwards to promote her fellow writer's books or beta read for them. She writes feel-good, light contemporary romance and even writes in Afrikaans. Her books can be found here and she blogs here.

Last but not least, Ylette Pearson who writes beautiful and hot erotic romances. She's also a wonderful beta reader and someone who's encouraged me along the way. You can find her books here and she blogs here.

Here's the linky link:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why I Don't Do Free

I love giving away copies of my books for giveaways and to my special readers, but I've come to the conclusion I'm not going to put any books up for free on Amazon. I have a couple of freebies on Smashwords just as a blessing to my readers, nothing else. They're older books that haven't ever been through a proper edit, but no, I won't do free on Amazon.

Why not?

Here are my reasons:

1. I've subscribed to Sweet Free Books and Ebook Soda emails and often download books they suggest are free for a few days on Amazon. Some of the books are great and often one of the best books I've read, but for some strange reason, I never end up ordering the next in the series. I really feel bad and feel like I owe the author to read on, but I never get around to it. Maybe one day I will when I go on a buying spree, but by that time, I've read the next few and forgotten about them. I tend to much prefer reading books from authors I know or from publishers I can trust.

2. Often, free books are poorly edited and some new, inexperienced indie authors make the first in a series free to hook their readers. Problem is, they often don't hook me but put me off. Now, I'm beginning to think I'm only going to read the books that I buy or from authors/publishers I know well. Is it worth it taking that risk? The free books offered are making readers more discerning. They're becoming less tolerant of junk. Could they have become suspicious of the freebies like I have? It's very likely.

3. When I buy a book, I value it more. If I download a free book and it's not great in the beginning and really doesn't sweep me off my feet and keep me riveted the whole way, I put it in the "discarded books" folder of my Kindle. Why waste my time reading something that's not wonderful when I have a huge "to-read" pile waiting for me? On the other hand, if I paid for it, I feel this need to make the most of my purchase and at least give it a chance. So I'm more willing to plough through some parts in the beginning that don't push my buttons. I know we aim to write the best and keep our readers gripped from the beginning, but is that really possible with such a variety of tastes and readers? Some bestselling authors don't do it for me. Others don't do it for others. We have no guarantee we're going to keep the reader going. But if they've paid for the book, they're more likely to stick it out. And then they'll get into the story.

4. I don't like KDP's strangulation. KDP (the publishing side of Amazon) makes you have to join their Kindle lending programme and have your book exclusively with them in order to put your book on free promotion for five days. I refuse to let them be the only ones keeping my books. Yes, maybe we get more downloads with them, but many of Amazon's business practices are shady. And they want to control the market, to the detriment of writers and publishing as a whole. I wish, in my own tiny way, to not allow that to happen. I love Smashwords as they put your book on so many different sites. They also pay via Paypal and not a horrible cheque which we have to pay huge bank charges here in South Africa to bank. I still haven't worked out how to put a book on Amazon for free on a permanent basis, but even if I do, I don't want to.

5. Really, when you come to think of it - how much time does it take you to write a book? Especially when it goes through a publisher and you have about five rounds of edits, plus all the admin that goes with it. Not to mention the hours of scribbling down the first draft, sending it to beta readers and working through their edits and polishing it before sending it off. It's days of your life that you've put into it. I don't think my books should be going for free. I already think they get sold at such low prices. I get very little from my books in the end. Yes, it's great with the advent of ebooks, but it's devalued our craft a little, and I don't fancy devaluing more by making my books free. Even my indie books - although they haven't gone through rigorous editing, they've taken me hours to make a cover, write and format.

It's incredibly tempting though. I mean, the free books get found so much easier amongst the millions out there because people are looking for free all the time. Maybe sometimes, it's the only way to get noticed. What do you think? Should I be more open-minded to the idea?