Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life on the home-front ... All's well that ends well

All’s well that ends well …

I’ve always had a great fondness for Shakespeare … he has so many quotable expressions that
accurately sum up events and crisis that crop up in everyday life …
Since my last post my husband has undergone open heart surgery and is now well on the road to recovery … and I am in awe that what was once considered incurable is now a very routine operation … heck I can remember vividly the headlines when Sir Brian Barratt-Boyes  first did this pioneering surgery and created  the pulmonary bypass procedure.
It is because of his dedicated work and the expertise of other surgeons that people like my husband have a second chance at life ….  and I am humbled and grateful. Without the medical people who dedicate their lives to helping others I would now probably be a widow… and that is a sobering thought…
And I am impressed with the health system we have in New Zealand.
When DH went into surgery the nurse who accompanied us all to theatre then went on to explain where he would be, took us to the ICU and told us bluntly what he would look like when we next saw him.  The surgeon rang me when the operation was finished with a personal update and from then on, all through the post surgery phase, the nurses and doctors explained each step of the Journey.
And this care didn’t stop when he was discharged.
The cardiac district nurse visited him at home, removed all the drain sutures and checked on his progress before he had his check-up with the GP… and we’re not burdened with years of crippling debt to pay for this life saving procedures…

We may be a little country in the South Pacific … a mere dot on the global landscape, but if we need medical care we can get it... As for my dear husband … as Shakespeare so succinctly put it  … All’s well that end well …

Now I can relax and get back to weaving stories with my pen …

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Mulleins of Katherine Bay

 

 Now available for pre-order

My best selling series is now coming as a boxed set

About this Series


Shadow Dance

Katherine Bay has not been kind to the Mulleins …. and when Jenna attempts to unravel the truth behind her mother’s dying words—Promise me, Jenna, promise you won’t sell him the land—she quickly discovers there are far too many people in Katherine Bay with a vested interest in muddying the truth.  When she is thrown into desperate danger and one woman in town is dead...property developer Gabe Callahan steps forward to help... Jenna is wary and not at all sure if it's safe to trust him...

 
Ashlyn’s Bodyguard

To save an innocent woman’s life Jace Mullein must face the people he left behind and family he betrayed … Ashlyn quickly learns to trust Jace and then in one horrifying moment she discovers the truth about Jace’s past … and now she needs to question everything … does she mean anything to him at all, or is Jace using her only to exact revenge for past slights?

 The Farmer Takes A Wife
When Sarah Kreagan arrives on his doorstep to Heath Mullein it’s a dream come true … Sarah was his first love, the unattainable daughter of a wealthy man .... years ago Sarah's father had warned him to keep away from Sarah and now she's turned up on his doorstep pregnant and on the run ... the man stalking her and threatening to ruin her family and take her baby brings danger into Heath's piece of paradise …

Available for pre-order on Amazon 

Completely re-edited for reader enjoyment 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Kiwi Indies Boxed Set

Kiwi Indies ... a group of seven Kiwi Independently Published Authors.


Working together seven New Zealand authors have put together a boxed set of full length novels for
our readers' pleasure


In Too Deep .... Tracey Alvarez

The Playboy's Redemption  ... Diana Fraser

The Wrong Sister ... Kris Pearson

Laura's Big Break ... Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Dating Daisy ... Joanne Hill

His Christmas Present  ... Serenity Woods

Return to Totara Park  ... Shirley Wine

All the books have multiple 4 and 5 star reviews and on sale for .99 cents


And available on all sales platforms for a limited time only.

Amazon    iBookstore 

You can read more about our Indie Author group  on our website.

Kiwi Indie Authors

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A kiwi's Sense of place ...and no 8 wire


A Kiwi’s Sense of Place … and No 8 wire

In a recent blog my writing buddy, Serenity Woods mentioned Kiwi authors’ sense of place…Serenity wrote …When I first moved to New Zealand, the librarian at the school where I work told me that Kiwi authors have a very strong sense of place….New Zealanders have a strong sense of national identity, and this often filters through into their storytelling….and whereas sometimes a story written by an author in another country could almost be set anywhere, it would be difficult to uplift a Kiwi author's novel and move it to another place because it just wouldn't fit.

 

Her comments intrigued me and I keep going back and back to them … I know she’s right, but the reason is not immediately obvious… So why do Kiwi writers have this strong sense of National identity?

 

There in no one glib answer. Like a well-cut diamond there are several facets to both the question and the answer. 
We are a small Island Nation in the South Pacific and in the early days of settlement our pioneer ancestors had to rely on their wits and ingenuity to survive in what was a hostile and untamed environment. And because of their geographical isolation, we became a nation of inventors and excelled in thinking outside the square…if there was a problem, our forebears had to rely on their own ingenuity to solve it.

And this inventiveness is the root of what is colloquially known as our No 8 wire mentality… there is nothing that a Kiwi farmer can’t fix with a piece of No 8 wire. It is tough, strong and malleable and is put to uses that beggar belief.
 
Primarily a fencing tool, No 8 wire was used to mend machinery, make gates, pull cows, cars and anything else that gets stuck in our sticky New Zealand soils, out of the bog.

My late father-in-law was even known to mend his work coats with the stuff…cockies (farmers) literally used it for anything and everything under the sun …here’s a picture of the ubiquitous Taranaki Gate…made with strands of No8 wire and a few battens.

One of the other facets of a Kiwi’s sense of identity is that for so long we perceived ourselves as actually having no or very little identity. 
 
Our forebears came here on sailing ships like this … The Lady Jocelyn bringing with them all they thought they would need from the “Old Country”…and when they got here realised that what they’d brought was woefully inadequate. Their roots and ties very much to England or whatever country they originally called home …and because of this perceived lack of National Identity we have actually forged a very strong one…and one that has evolved over time to meld all the strands of people who have settled here with the indigenous people who were the earliest settlers to make it to our far-flung shores.  A Maori Waka similar to the ones that brought those early settlers to Aotearoa.

 Another facet to our strong National sense of place is that because of our geographic isolation, for centuries NZ had no land mammals and consequently we have a whole host of unique birds found nowhere else in the world. The flightless Kiwi is one… and this is the bird New Zealanders identify with … it is unique … and the land that gave the world this unique bird, has also given its human inhabitants our own unique sense of identity…an amalgam of so many different people forged into one nationality.


And nowhere is this amalgam of cultures more evident than on the sporting field.  There is not a rugby nation on earth that doesn’t quail when faced with the All Blacks doing the Haka… Men of all ethnicity perform this war dance with a zeal and put dread in the opposing team’s hearts.


Do my stories have a unique sense of place? Here is an excerpt from Return to Totara Park:

The shared laughter filled her with warm contentment. They sat in the sun and savoured their coffee and just as they finished another truck turned in the gate.

“Let’s hope this lot doesn’t want to demolish the yards. Could you imagine what those heifers would be like to milk?” Jared chuckled, the deep, rich sound made her toes curl in her boots. “They’d probably kick you into the middle of next week.”

Winsome shuddered at the thought of getting close to those wicked flying hooves of that last lot of dairy heifers.

The truck backed into the race and unloaded.

Her breath caught as she watched the dainty yellow Jersey yearlings pick their way down the loading race. With their wide shallow faces, velvety pansy eyes and black muzzles they were as different from the last lot of yearlings as it was possible to imagine.

“Aren’t they lovely?” she breathed looking up at Jared with shining eyes. “Now I wouldn’t mind milking these.”

The heifers walked across to the rail and sniffed curiously at her. She put out her hand and scratched the broad nose of the one in front. The heifer pulled back with a skittish snort, kicking up her heels like a playful deer, making Winsome laugh.

 
And again in this excerpt from The Return

She sipped her coffee before answering as she marshalled her thoughts. “I had no idea Darkhaven had so many secret, hidden places.”

“Surprised?”

She half turned towards him. “It’s like there’s the public face, the stables and that big showy mansion, and then there are the tranquil places like this, the private face.”

Piper tipped her head back and looked up into the branches of the giant weeping willow and poplar trees crowded together above them on the slope leading away from the riverbank. A thick undergrowth of flax and native trees was springing up beneath the bigger trees. “This place has the feel as if it’s been used often.”

“Not so much in recent years,” Logan frowned as he looked around. “Once, the cattle used to graze right down to the river, but now only regular maintenance keeps the track and picnic spots navigable, although Fish and Game volunteers do help with maintenance.”

She turned slightly, surprised by his brooding expression. “What do you plan to do about these places? Keep them for private use or open them up for regular trail rides?”

“You mean turn Darkhaven into a dude ranch?”

His outrage at her question made her chuckle. “You make that sound like a communicable disease.”

“We have working racing stables. Can you imagine this place crawling with townies?”

“Plenty of townies,” she made air quotes around the word, “would give their eye teeth to enjoy a week of this peace and solitude. I imagine this spot would be a trout fisherman’s idea of paradise. There are so few places like this within easy reach of a city.”

Logan sat up and looked directly at her, his expression wary. “You’re actually serious? I can’t imagine it ever happening. When you’ve grown up knowing places like this, it defines us. And it’s because Darkhaven has such a public face that we treasure these private spots. The cattle, horses and campfires, it’s in our blood. It’s who we are.”

 
 And this from Ashlyn's Bodyguard


She stepped hesitantly into the darkness. The torch beam proved puny against the encroaching blackness. Fearful, she glanced upwards, but not the faintest glimmer of starlight penetrated the overhead canopy. A rough, guttural cough had her swinging the torch in the direction of the sound.

Two huge yellow eyes stared back at her. What was that?

She whimpered and took a step backwards, sucking in another ragged breath. The musky, earthy odour of damp rotting vegetation, overlaid with the sharp salty smell peculiar to New Zealand’s native bush, pervaded her senses.

The thing disappeared in a rustling scurry of leaf litter. The scrabbling sound sent a shiver up her spine.

Was that a possum?

High above, in the dense forest canopy a more-pork screeched. The distinctive cry of the small owl made Ashlyn almost jump out of her skin, and when wings brushed her face, she screamed and lunged sideways.

“It’s only an owl,” Jace said at her elbow.


 

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Promotion for Indie Author

Book Promotion

  • Social media... but too much and it's a sure fire way to lose friends
  • Newsletters ... these can be a powerful tool to acquaint readers with new releases  ... 
  • First you need readers to subscribe to a newsletter;
  • You must have interesting content often enough that they stay signed up.
  • Book bloggers and blog tours sound great but are often just a cover, book blurb, and bio – and readers get this through Goodreads or Amazon. 
  • e-zines and review sites will happily feature your books at a substantial cost.
  • Free books or bargain books sites. If you’re willing to drastically reduce the price of your books, they’re well worth trying. Many don’t cost an author anything except time because the sites are Amazon Associates who get a small cut that way. But time is very precious when you’re uploading details to site after site and would rather be writing. An alternative is to use a service to do the uploading – for a fee.
  • You can pay to be listed in a subscription newsletter with a reputation for proven results. For instance, this July 23rd my friend Kris Pearson  secured a place with Bookbub and is reducing her book  'The Boat Builder’s Bed' to 99 cents. The going rate is US $580 for the day for a contemporary romance, so she needs to move a lot of books at 99 cents to cover the cost. An author receives one third of that 99 cents in case you’re wondering. 
  • Or an Indie Author can work in with other authors and create an exclusive deal that’s advantageous for everyone.
  • This is what a group of us have done with the iBook stores - produced a boxed set of seven novels for 99 cents. That’s fourteen cents per book.

Dianaii
Available on iBookstore   For July only
 At   $0.99 cents  that's a whopping 14 cents per book.
 
 Want to keep abreast of the latest news ....

Sign up here for my author newsletter    

 
  
 
 

My contribution to this exclusive offer is

 

Return To Totara Park

 

 What would you be prepared to sacrifice to protect your child?


This was the dilemma Winsome Grainger faced … protect her unborn child or stay with Jared, the husband she adored … For better or worse Winsome sacrificed her marriage when she left  Jared and Totara Park… After her father-in-law’s death  Winsome is forced to return to Totara Park or watch Jared, the man she still loves, lose the land that is his heritage ... 
When she left Jared, Winsome took with her two terrible secrets … secrets that even now are a serious threat to any chance of happiness in her marriage - the second time around.    Secrets that not only threaten her shaky marriage and her love for Jared, they also threaten her precious daughter’s life, and her own life  … because Winsome discovers she’s a mere pawn in a dark and deadly game. A game whose rules she doesn’t know…  

 

This is a story close to my heart

As Jared and Winsome work the land to return Totara Park to prosperity .... 
I have literally walked in their gumboots (Wellingtons or rubber boots depending on which country you call home)  ... and  have fed out hay to cattle, shifted electric fences and break fed autumn saved pasture … rain, hail or shine …
I have roasted in the summer sun and frozen my buns off in the winter because this was my life and livelihood for so many years as my husband and I worked the land.  So every farming detail is authentic … it was a way of life I loved and now that I live in town, I still sorely miss.

And I too, have my precious twin sons buried at Hautapu Cemetery … and like Winsome; I have survived this mind-numbing grief to live a happy, satisfying life…   In our case life followed fiction not the other way around, I wrote this story years before our boys died.

 Here’s an excerpt:
       “I never ran away.” Her chin lifted as she was forced to say the words. “I left, sure. But I never ran away.”
        Her words sat in the pulsing silence.
       “Explain the difference, Winsome.” Jared leaned closer and she felt the warmth of his breath on her chilled skin. “Explain the nuance of meaning that differentiates running away from leaving? For the life of me I can’t see it.”
        Put like that, there was no difference.
        She nibbled on her lower lip struggling for words to explain the inexplicable. She took a deep breath and caught his scent, heady, familiar and totally intoxicating. Her heart rate picked up and her breath quickened as a traitorous desire scorched through every cell of her body.
        Oh hell, she did not need this.
Totara Park Homestead
        “What’s the matter?” Jared’s eyes held a predatory gleam as he stood up and leaned across to take the mug perilously close to spilling, from her weak grasp.
         Hurriedly, she stood and took a step backwards, her hands lifted and then fluttered downwards in a helpless movement as colour bloomed in her cheeks. Nervous of him and the gleam in his eye, her tongue darted out wetting parched lips.
         Jared came closer, lifting a hand and trailing calloused fingers down one hot burning cheek. The gesture as gentle as it was intimate.
         “Don’t, Jared,” she pleaded.
          He chuckled, a wicked, knowing sound that scraped nerve ends raw.
          “Don’t what?” He asked, his sensuous whisper wrapping her fraught emotions in silken bonds. “Don’t take you to my bed and sate a hunger that’s been five years in the growing?”
          Her mouth dry, Winsome stared at him and whispered, “I’m not ready for this.”
          “Aren’t you?” He leaned closer, whispering, “Not ready for what Winsome, the feel of my skin against yours? The solace and peace from the torment of sleeping alone for five damnably long and lonely years?”
 
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Latest News .... New Books --- Promos


DianaiiWhat's new ....

Boxed set ...

limited time offer for 99 cents

Seven top selling Indie authors
Seven novels about love the second time around ... there is nothing so sweet or so fraught as Love the second time around ... this omnibus has failed marriages, forbidden romance, chances not taken


iBookstore

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/second-chances-7-sweet-sexy/id879974306?mt=11&uo=4

My Latest Release   - Book II Prodigal Sons                                     

RTTP VIIiBookstore     Amazon   Kobo

Smashwords

When Logan Sinclair turned his back on his home, his family and the prosperous Racing Stud of Darkhaven and vanished… he also turned his back on Piper and her love … and his return after ten long years is greeted with suspicion and distrust and he finds the good people of Cambridge have long memories … there’s no way he can escape the ghosts of his past, the woman he left behind, or the grief that threatens to bring him to his knees …. He’s heard it said often enough, that you can never return home…and he quickly comes to realise that he’s compounded his mistakes by doing exactly that…

Free  for a limited time .... first in the series .... The Mulleins of Katherine Bay


JennaI          image-1360x520


 Amazon   iBookstore   

 

Want to keep abreast of the latest news ....

Sign up here for my author newsletter    

 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Research is Fun



The setting for the series ... The Mulleins of Katherine Bay

Recently my DH and I bought a new caravan...to make it easy for me to do research for my rural romance novels of course... So this last weekend we set off for a trial run around The Coromandel Peninsular .... the setting for my series ... The Mulleins of Katherine Bay.   Katherine Bay is a fictitious town that reflects the real time growth of tourism in this pristinely beautiful  area of New Zealand...and all the resultant pressures development brings. 
It gives me a lot of pleasure to give readers a visual to go with my stories ..... 
 
 

  This is White Star Station near Colville that has been farmed by the Evans family for six generations ... it is land like this that sees Jenna Mullein fall foul of a land hungry madman when she tries to find out the truth behind her mother's dying words .... promise me Jenna, promise you won't sell the land ....When Gabe Callahan steps in to help ... Jenna is wary of accepting his help, especially when she discovers he's a property developer searching out land to develop a resort.... does he want her or the land she inherits... 
Jenna and Gabe's story is told in  Shadow Dance ...  is available on Amazon  


When Ashlyn Pritchard falls foul of a gang of International art thieves,  Jace Mullein chooses to face the family he betrayed ...rather than have an innocent woman suffer a horrible death... there is only one option ... he rescues her and takes her on a motorcycle ride through rugged, bush country like this... a journey she'll remember until the day she dies.
(this photo was taken through the car windscreen as it was too dangerous to stop)

You can read Jace and Ashlyn's Story in
Ashlyn's Bodyguard  ... available on  Amazon

 

Heath Mullein has always heard the old adage ... take care what you wish for..  When his boyhood sweetheart arrives on his doorstep in the middle of a storm ... he thinks all his dreams have come true ...until the man threatening Sarah Kreagan comes far too close and brings danger to his little corner of paradise .... Rata Ridge, the family's beef and sheep Station overlooks a pristine beach like this one ... Sarah and Heath's story is told in The Farmer Takes A Wife ... available now on Amazon  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Value of An Ideas File

IndustrialTimesNewspaperThis week I have had it really brought home to me the real value of an Ideas file.

As a writer, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I can be browsing in a magazine or a newspaper and I will see something that sparks and idea or the germ of an idea that could be useful in some project in the future.

What to do with these ideas? I create files on my computer… any interesting articles that come to me through the web or other sources pertaining to the craft of writing, I save to a craft file and when the day comes that I need to refer to anything in this file, it have it at my fingertips.

The same with book ideas … I have a file labelled Ideas…. some of these are pages long…others are mere sentences… or interesting quotes … or something that tickles my sense of humour… a lot will never see the light of day … others will become what writers call … a light bulb moment.

I had such a moment this last week … yonks ago I wrote a 5000 words semi-synopsis of a plot idea for a book that has languished in my electronic bottom drawer ever since I wrote it.
The original idea came after I read a newspaper article on a gypsy fortune-teller… the story-smith in me thought that has a promising appeal … and then yesterday while working on the sequel to Lovers’ Lies that so many readers have asked for, provisionally titled Logan's Return … My heroine was relating some of her past to the hero and she happened to mention and how the event affected her twin brother … and I remembered that 5000 words piece … and I thought … yes…that is the ideal scenario for that piece and a whole new book has emerged … with one doozy of a conflict.

So now the characters in these stories look like having a third book in the series ... and readers love series... I know I am really partial to them.

Ideas are everywhere … and once you open you mind to them … the possibilities are endless.  To me this is the real jot of being a writer … taking the germ of an idea and creating a complete finished drama.   So any idea, no matter how nebulous saved to such a file may become the basis to the next best selling novel… if you save it.