Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My natiive corner with our farm waterwheel

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Finally I think we can officially say spring is on its way.

After last summer's dreary weather and a wet... wet...wet...winter is is such a joy to see sunshine.

The daffodils are out, the flowering may is showing colour, the early scarlet rhodo and white tulip magnolia have turned my driveway into a picturesque scene.

The birds are singing and this morning I watched a blackbird methodically line up a heap of worms so I guess she's feeding babies in the hedgerow somewhere.
My back garden
I've always loved birdwatching and I thought that our move from the country into town would end this enduring hobby...but no. In our little town we are not too far from open country and we have an amazing variety of birdlife that visit.

Tuis and bellbirds are regular visitors and the big bellied native pigeons often call by.

My front garden from my lounge window
Then there are the little birds...the grey warbler with their tiny legs, no bigger than darning needles, and their sweet sad me it always sounds as if their sweet refrain says...never the same again...never the same again... theirs is the quintessential sound of New Zealand's bush.  And the fantails that flit around the garden a few feet from my spade and wax-eyes by the number.

Then we have regular visits by mynas chaffinches, green finches, goldfinches and sparrows and the very occasional yellowhammer....but they are more open country birds.

But by far the highlight for me was the recent visit to my garden of a NZ native falcon. I have only ever seen one other...and that was in one of our country gardens.  They are very rare visitors this far north. But as I have free flight ring-neck and lace-neck doves who come into my maize feeder I guess the falcon was after  an easy meal.

The wrought iron archway and rose bed
It was a real highlight of my day to see this magnificent and rare bird sitting atop the wrought iron archway over my dovecote.   Unfortunately he was too fast for me to capture on camera.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On Being A Writer

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One thing about being a writer is that you keep on beavering away at your typewriter for years.

Despite the rejections.  Despite the setbacks. Despite periods of depression when you seriously doubt you have one Buckley's chance of ever breaking through the glass ceiling. Despite the self-doubts that whisper away in the back of your mind...the doubts that gather and chorus cheerfully "You're no good. What makes you think anyone will want to read your pathetic scribbles"  

Yet despite it all, you're drawn back to the keyboard, again and again. It has a siren call like no other.

Now writers like myself, who've found it impossible, for one reason or another to break through the glass ceiling and be taken up one of the BIG SIX, there is another option.

Self Publishing.

For many years anyone who self published was looked down upon and scorned by those who'd managed to break through the glass ceiling. Not any more.

In the past two years the face of publishing is a dramatically changing landscape. With the advent of Amazon's self publishing programme, authors can now go it alone.  And both traditionally published authors and those who have found it impossible to get a toe in the door, have another very viable option.

Many mid-list authors have discovered this changing landscape means they get dropped by their publisher. The shrinking number of books shops means that fewer authors, some of them very big names, can penetrate that glass ceiling.

The opposite side of this coin is that there are more and more dissatisfied readers out there. Readers craving something different from porridge smooth offerings at skyrocketing prices. Amazon offers readers the choice to buy direct from the author. And the author no longer has to recieve the smallest slice of the pie for all their hard work. After all the BIG 6 amassed all their New York Real Estate by rising on the backs of hardworking authors.  

So as you can imagine this review of Shadow Dance warmed my heart and went some way to easing my doubts.  
5.0 out of 5 stars heart pounding read July 21, 2012
By Holley
Format:Kindle Edition
Shirley Wine is a new favourite of mine. Love her strong characters and the romantic New Zealand setting. This romance left me hungering for more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ashlyn's Bodyguard hits Amazon's cyber shelves

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I am delighted to have Ashlyn's Bodyguard up on Amazon. This is the second book in the series The Mulleins of Katherine Bay.
Bad-boy Jace is one of my favourite heroes.

Here is the link

About this book

An attempt to thwart theives goes horribly wrong and Ashlyn Pritchard is forced to flee. Cast off by her wealthy high-acheiving family, and with a dangerous crinimal on her trail, she accepts Jace Mullein's offer of protection, but comes with strings. He'll be her bodyguard, twenty-four-seven...if she marries him.

As the danger escalates, Ashlyn learns to trust Jace. Then she discovers the truth about his past. It's too late to retreat, but she needs to question everything about the man she has come to love. Does she mean anything to him at all, or is Jace using her to exact revenge for past slights?


Ashlyn Pritchard clung to the biker with a death grip.

The powerful machine throbbed between her legs as it weaved from side to side, leaving her dizzy. She fought down the sting of bile. Now is not the time to throw up.

Breathing hurt. Wind whipped at her face, every difficult breath filled with a subtle, sexy aftershave, leather, petrol fumes and taut strength. Her overwhelmed senses were still imprinted with the hard crush of his arms, the protective shield of his huge body.

Who was he?

Santos' victims don't die easy. The blunt words painted a horrible picture.

Was he part of the security team staking out the gallery as he claimed? Ashlyn prayed that for once in her life, she'd been lucky. Leaping off this death-defying machine wasn't an option.

Overpoweringly male, his strength as he'd subdued her struggles was too fresh. Now, every sinuous move as he guided the bike through the night was sexily provocative. Within minutes, she was hopelessly lost. They careened through an endless maze of alleys and bounced over surfaces so rough they almost pried her loose from the mountain of muscle she clung to.

They jolted down steps and crossed private yards. Laundry on clotheslines whipped at exposed flesh. Just as nausea threatened, he eased onto a smooth surface.

The highway?

Ashlyn gulped in a relieved breath and opened her eyes, only to shut them again. Blurred black ribbon raced past at a dizzying pace. It was better not to look. Eventually, they turned into a narrow graveled track.

Once clear of the highway, he stopped the bike, dropped his feet to the gravel, cut the headlamp and turned slightly. "You okay back there?"

"I think so." She was shaking so hard her teeth chattered.

A husky laugh rumbled from him. "Just making sure we've not been followed."

Her heart skipped a beat. She glanced over her shoulder, her grip on him tightened convulsively. Spooky, crowding blackness sent a thrill of fear up her spine. At this moment her rescuer was the lesser of two evils, a buffer between her and the terrifying darkness.

He pulled a torch from a side pocket of the bike and handed it to her. "Shine that ahead for me, darlin'?"

Somehow, she pried a hand loose from his torso.

With excruciating slowness, he guided the bike up the track. In the weak light, ghostly shadows leaped from overcrowded verges. After what seemed like an age, he switched on the headlamp, took the torch from her numb fingers and guided the growling beast of a machine up an even steeper incline into the bush clad hills.

Where is he taking me?

Ashlyn's heart clubbed painfully in her chest. Panic made her dangerously close to hyperventilating. All sorts of improbable scenarios scrabbled around in her brain. After what seemed like a lifetime the bike rumbled to a halt, his powerful legs holding it upright. "Can you get off?" His deep voice startled her into loosening her grip.
"I think so."

Ashlyn put a leg over the bike, but her abused limbs refused to support her. An arm of steel held her upright.

"Hold on." He swung a powerful leg over the seat, kicked out the stand with a booted foot and stood up. The arm that circled her waist was corded with muscle.

Ashlyn sagged against him. Fright, cold and reaction coalesced into enervating weakness.

"Come on, Daisy, let's get you inside," he said, with rough gentleness.

Daisy? Her sluggish mind tried to process this but it refused to co-operate. As her eyes became accustomed to the dark, she made out the outline of a building. "Where are we?"

"Safe for the moment."


The word jerked her into awareness of her situation. This close, the rumble of his deep voice was a physical resonance. Heat radiated from his powerful body. She wanted nothing more than to curl into that heat and pretend the last half hour had never happened.

"Santos will have difficulty finding you here," he said with strained patience.

A sigh shuddered from her. The Coromandel was rugged and unforgiving to strangers. Regarded by many as New Zealand's last frontier, it was the last place on earth she would willingly venture into. Let alone with a forbidding stranger in the dead of night.

She tripped and stumbled as he opened a door.

The arm around her waist tightened and she was glad of the support. The inky blackness made it impossible to see which way was up.

"Wait here. I'll fix a light."

All she could discern was that they were inside, a room of some sort. She shivered missing his warmth, too aware of the dark, the silence and their isolation. What sort of situation had she landed in now?

Light flared.

She glimpsed a face shadowed by black stubble. Another flare of light and lantern-light filled the room. The sudden brightness made her blink. For the first time she could see her rescuer and was far from reassured. He wasn't overly tall, but he dominated the space, his hair a wild riot of raven curls any girl would envy.

Too aware of shrewd, dark eyes studying her, her chin lifted and her spine straightened but the effect was ruined by a convulsive shudder. With a muffled grunt, he disappeared through a doorway off to one side of the main room, returning with a sleeping roll he tossed her way. "Wrap up and get warm. I don't want to light a fire."

The brusque command loosened her limbs. "Thanks."

Sinking into one of the well-worn armchairs bracketing a log fire, she pulled the rug around her shoulders. She unzipped ankle boots and tucked her frozen appendages into the sleeping bag. As she warmed up so did her ability to think. She watched warily as he rummaged in a cupboard and pulled out a shiny kettle, filled it with water from a faucet over the sink and set it on a gas burner he ignited with a taper.

Dragging her gaze away, she looked at a room so eerily normal it spooked her. Wooden floors, two bright area rugs, matching cabinetry set off by dark bench tops. Windows above reflected lantern light, beyond—impenetrable darkness.

"Tea or coffee?"

Her gaze jerked back to him. He watched her, his coal dark eyes as inscrutable as the night.


He spooned instant coffee into mugs. "Black or white? There's powdered milk here somewhere, Daisy."

"Black." Ashlyn glared at him, the first sparks of temper surfacing. "What's with you and this Daisy racket?"

He stiffened and turned to face her. "Be thankful I caught you in that alley. Paz Santos leaves victims in pieces for their families to bury."

Ashlyn shuddered. "Look mister. My name's not Daisy. Who are you?"

"Jace Mullein." His grim expression was not reassuring. "From Ace Securities. Like to explain why you were in the gallery at that hour, Ms. Pritchard?"

The insulting emphasis on her name had her chin lifting and nerves jitterbugging in her stomach. "My job."

Feet apart, body rigid, his black eyes narrowed to gleaming slits. Moving faster that a striking snake, he gripped her shoulders, hauled her to her feet and thrust his face to within an inch of hers. "Then you knew Santos and his gang was poised to strike? Do you have a death wish? If you had another freaking brain, it would be lonely."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You know you've made it.......

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You know you've made it when the books you've slaved on, shed buckets of blood, sweat and tears over, end up on a pirated site.

That's about the only positive thing I can say to the scumbags who decide to set themselves up in business to make money off hard working writers' and artists endeavours.

The discouraging thing about pirate sites is that no sooner is one closed down than another one pops up in its place.  The latest site to come to writers' notice on the Indie writer's loop is
While my books are not on this site far too many of my fellow authors' books are.

There are too sides to this story of pirate sites.

On one side are the greedy merchants who set these sites up to rip off writers and artists .

On the other, people who are quite happy to buy from pirate sites to save a buck and deprive the same hardworking writers and artists of legitmate hard earned income.

To these people I say only one word.