First off the block

Right now I’m taking part in something that’s a lot of fun. And I’m going first, which is always a bit of a challenge.


This is the Twelve Days of Christmas promotion – twelve ‘down under’ authors who are each giving personal prizes away, plus we have a $50 Amazon Gift Card to finish with a flourish. Here’s the schedule so you can see who’s taking part. Don’t miss your favourite authors!

Day 1 – Kris Pearson

Day 2 – Joanne Dannon

Day 3 – Cassandra O’Leary  

Day 4 – Annie Seaton

Day 5 – Monique McDonell

Day 6 – Kate O’Keeffe

Day 7 – Cathryn Hein

Day 8 – Tracey Alvarez

Day 9 – Leeanna Morgan

What matters most



This was brought home to me very forcibly when a friend of my sister’s tracked me down through an author card I‘d given her months ago. She phoned, saying sister was terribly ill, and she really thought I should get some medical attention for her.

Apparently sister had been mysteriously unwell for about six weeks and hadn’t told me. We mostly email each other to keep in touch. Would she have told me if we were phoning instead? Probably not - she wouldn’t have wanted to worry me!

SO… Determined to get the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I dropped everything at home and drove four hours north, arriving unannounced, and giving poor sis a terrible shock. On the way there I managed to convince myself she was halfway dead. Would I have to track her to the hospital if she didn't open the door? Would I be responsible for clearing out the house? Selling the house? Writing a eulogy for the funeral? Goodness, unfounded worry is a terrible thing, and an author’s inventive brain makes it worse.

She did indeed answer the door – looking pale and thinner than usual and rather annoyed. In fact it was the loudly voiced annoyance that convinced me she wasn’t actually halfway dead! She was annoyed I’d bothered travelling all that way. Annoyed I hadn’t told her I was coming. And extremely annoyed with her friend for alarming me.

Am I allowed to have a moan about Amazon?

I don’t like doing it – Amazon is quite a chunk of my bread and butter after all. But if an author wants to get a book price-matched to FREE for a special promotion they change it on their dashboards for the required time, and on Smashwords, Google Play, iBooks, and Kobo all is well.

With Amazon, we have to go begging. We get rather grudging messages back saying they’ll consider it. And a couple of days later, another to say that they’ve done it but reserve the right not to. They 'retain discretion over determining their retail prices'. OK, it's their company, but here’s the last reply I got on November 16 -



So I have to believe they’ve made it free, because even though an author can’t necessarily see it from another country (in my case New Zealand), The Zon has spoken, and all should be good.

Once again, it’s not. A friend in Australia has just sent me this:

The thrill of writing the start

Yes, it felt good to launch a new novel - in my case HARD TO RESIST on October 31st. But writing the beginning of number three in the Scarlet Bay series to give you a taste in the backmatter gave me an even bigger kick.

HARD TO HANDLE is on its way. Already I’m getting to know Oliver and Meifeng. Remember her? The Chinese girl who played the bongos and erhu at Jason’s music nights, and at Anna’s wedding? Now she needs a one-man covert protection squad, and Anna’s cousin is just the man for the job – even though he thought he’d come to Scarlet Bay to unpack furniture for the new family beach house.


There’s nothing like a damsel in distress to bring out the caveman ‘protecting my woman’ instincts. Mei really doesn’t want to be protected, but Oliver Wynn is determined she’ll come to no harm on his watch.

Because this is part of a series, it won’t only be Mei and Ollie’s story. Anna and Jason’s first child will be born.

Jossy and Cam’s beautiful new wedding venue will be completed. But will they be the first wedding there, or will someone else sneak in ahead of them? And if so, who? I do know the answer to that but I’m not telling.

Authors talk about tomatoes!

Actually we gossip online about all sorts of things, but around Halloween is traditionally outdoor tomato planting time in New Zealand, so here we go. This is our front porch in January. Some years it’s a fight to get inside.

Gracie O’Neil was discovered lurking amongst the greenery chewing when she came to visit. Kendra Delugar asked about growing them last year – and absolutely outdid us! She used half a wine barrel, and she lives further north so she was always going to get hers to ripen faster. Toni Kenyon and Shirley Wine are good keen gardeners, too. Now Kristina O’Grady is asking how we get such a crop, so in case you want to try, here’s what we do.

The first reviews are in

Launching a new book is ridiculously exciting – and scary. This is HARD TO RESIST - the second in my Scarlet Bay series.  These sexy New Zealand beach reads take you for summery love affairs with members of the wealthy Wynn family.


HARD TO REGRET  is Anna Wynn’s story. Buttoned-up Anna has been hiding a secret for half her life and it finally explodes wide open.

HARD TO RESIST is Jossy Wynn’s story. Smart lawyer-about-town Jossy has been punishing herself for a youthful mistake, and it takes gorgeous Cameron Mackay to break her wide open and get her life back on track again.


No lawyer should ever be this close to her opposing client…

I’ve just discovered the first two ARC reviews on Goodreads. Five stars, both of them. May there be many more.

Take a chance on something different

I don’t usually read psychological thrillers, but something about this menacing beautiful cover got to me. (Never judge a book by its cover, huh?)

            Cover of Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Then I found the book had 6783 reviews – and more than two thirds of them were five stars.

Okay, getting tempted. Even though it didn’t appeal to me from the blurb, I read the sample on Amazon. And I was totally hooked.

Had to buy it. Had to start it right away. Had to keep reading, quite obsessively. And when I finished, I needed to know more about Rachel Caine because I’m going to be trying some of her others for sure. It looks like she has around forty-five, and there’s a sequel to this one due around Christmas. Excellent!

If you don’t read thrillers either, give this one a go. I can practically promise you won’t be disappointed. Gnawing your fingernails maybe, but clinging on tight for the ride. Click the cover to get to her Amazon page. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

My Spanish translator defies the police

Yesterday I sent a message to the lady who translated four of my books into Spanish. Was she OK after the terrible riots I’d seen on TV? I’d hoped she wasn't at home in her beloved Barcelona but maybe in Brussels where she often works as a translator at the European Union Headquarters. No such luck – here’s what she replied.

“In fact I was not away from all that, I was protecting the ballot station for two days, just to avoid what happened to other ballot stations and to stop the criminal Spanish Police from stealing our ballot boxes. Well, we succeeded in it. I am now very tired, but happy.

We hope the civilised countries and the EU and the international community will impose sanctions to Spain for its unthinkable and unforgivable behavior. The Spanish premier is such a liar and a criminal, that yesterday at the evening news he said to the whole nation that the Police had done what it had to be done, and that their action was measured and civilised. I wanted to throw up. Having seen older people beaten, hit, wounded, bleeding, hurt... more than 800 wounded, some of them with serious injuries... having seen the ferocity of those animals against peaceful people... I still feel sick and want to cry.”

Two fiction writers having coffee - and a boxset bargain

Every now and again I have coffee and a long chat with a friend – a man I’ve known for almost forty years. When I first met him (working with him) I was already married to Philip, but I was delighted to find Blair because we just clicked – never mind he was younger, American, and totally different from me.

Do you have people in your life who are really easy to talk with? They don’t happen along all that often – to me, anyway. Honestly, you can’t shut the pair of us up when we get together.

I didn’t see him at all for about thirty of those forty years – we were living different lives with different partners. Then, there he was on Facebook. In contact again.

I write fiction. These days he writes fiction too – mostly interactive children’s books, but a couple of thrillers as well. We’ve taken up exactly where we left off all that time ago – each trying to out-talk the other.

On this occasion it was in the café across the road from where we live. I left Philip painting the sitting room walls and ambled over with Blair. Got a surprised look from the café staff as if to ask what I was doing out with another man. I love it when that happens! There might be life in mysterious Mrs Pearson yet…

Open wide

What frightens you the most? Your biggest fear? With me it was the dentist.

When I was a child, almost every school had a Dental Clinic – not-so-fondly named The Murder House because the nurses would grind away at children’s teeth with slow old drills and without local anaesthetic. But it was free, and part of the school program and we couldn’t escape. Much as I hated those visits, it gave me teeth which I hope will last for the rest of my life.

In my twenties I started going to a central-city dentist who had enough sense to tell I was petrified. He was good at injections. I’m apparently a tooth-grinder and a heavy chewer so my teeth have needed a bit of work over the years. I’ve been creeping along there like a condemned prisoner and emerging with a numb jaw and my lipstick re-applied all crooked, but the teeth still chomp okay.

And then – just before Christmas – disaster! He retired. Well, I reckon I need to keep my teeth in good nick for another two or three decades so the fear turned up all over again. What was I going to do???

To my surprise he said I’d be going to his brother now. His brother? How many years before he retired too? But I gave him a go, and I’ve never had so much fun.