Blog

My patchwork camellias

Sometimes just being beautiful is enough. These are Guillio Nuccio variegated camellias. The tree is practically pushing them through my sitting room window right now.

Kris Pearson - Guillio Nuccio var camellia

I used to have more than 150 camellias – and then the dreaded petal blight arrived in New Zealand. This is rather like brown rot on peaches – one small spot that grows and ruins them. There’s no cure. It’s spread by the wind-blown spores of a particular little toadstool that appears out of fallen camellia petals that aren’t cleared away.

Someone with a piece of squished-up infected petal in the sole of a shoe possibly walked it out onto kiwi soil from the USA. That’s all it would take. Hopefully no-one was stupid enough to flout the biosecurity rules and try smuggling fresh camellia flowers into the country. We’ll never know.

Is a book ever finished?

Not if it’s an ebook! It really is possible to tweak it forever. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but let’s consider my novel ‘Taken by the Sheikh’.  This was published in 2012, and rapidly became my best selling book. Day after day when I checked the sales figures the Sheikh beat all the others. It outsold newer books launched and just kept on chugging. It’s the same with the Spanish translation ‘Raptada por el Jeque’. It’s only in the last few months that its rankings have fallen away and it has lost the top slot.

I presumed sheikhs had finally had their day. Fashions in writing do change, and my second one – ‘Desired by the Sheikh’ – never did as well as the first. This is despite me having more writing experience by the time I published it, and personally far preferring the story in ‘Desired’ to ‘Taken’. Maybe it’s just the state of the market – many more books out there to compete with?

I decided to go to cover designer Robin Ludwig and commission new covers for everything except the sheikhs. If they’d done their dash it didn’t seem worth spending money on them. Of course once the new designs started rolling in I couldn’t resist smartening up the sheikhs as well.

Covers to die for

I’ve been having a wonderfully interesting time lately with my new covers. Until now I've put them together myself – buying the photos from sites like dreamstimes.com after exhaustive searching. I have a small publishing program, and it's the work of a few minutes to turn out a birthday card or a bookmark – or indeed a book cover. But although the old ones were clear and colourful they never looked professional enough to really please me. The time had arrived for a real designer.

For various reasons I chose Robin Ludwig, and you can find her work here: www.gobookcoverdesign.com

I really didn't know quite what to expect. I hoped (naïvely) that I could keep the same photos of my carefully chosen people and just give them a new look. Nope – Robin wasn't having any of that. When I saw her first suggested design, I absolutely saw why.

The final episode of 'Sniffing Her Out'

R16 content, so read at your discretion.

Several slow paces further and he broke the kiss, pulling back to stare deep into her eyes again. “What a woman,” he murmured. “What a bear you’d make.”

“Noooo…” she protested. “Not yet.”

“Of course not yet,” he assured her, gaze steady on hers. “There’s a lot I need to teach you first, and there’s no guarantee you’ll agree. It doesn’t happen unless you agree.”

He set her on her feet and Atarangi locked her knees into place because she was trembling with excitement. She clung to his shoulders, smiling up at him, turned on beyond belief, but still not entirely certain what to expect from a man who was half bear. Would he be rough?

His kisses were ultra-potent, but she liked them. Loved them! The feeling of being helpless was so new. Men tended to be cautious around her ample, curvy body—treating her like a cuddly toy instead of a hot-blooded woman.  Adam was all hot blood to match hers, and as she leaned against him she knew exactly where a lot of that hot blood had located itself.

It had been dark the night before when he’d shifted from being a bear. She hadn’t managed a detailed inspection, no matter how she’d tried to focus in the gloom. He’d surely had trouble tucking himself away into those jeans though. His man looked even bigger than his bear!

Another episode of 'Sniffing Her Out'

Come home with Adam and Atarangi

The words seemed invested with special significance. Did he mean his home, or that it could be hers as well, one day? Atarangi spun around slowly, taking in all the luxurious furnishings, the big leather sofas, the wonderful works of art. The windows on the far wall stretched from floor to ceiling—a huge expanse of glass that framed the most beautiful view she'd ever seen. She slipped off her high sandals and swung them from a finger as she walked across to admire it. The foreground was filled with the private land they'd just driven through—lush and dark, with the moonlight painting the edges of the foliage with silver. And out beyond that lay the amazing lake. An expanse of black for the most part, but with a broad trail of sparkles reaching right across from the lights of Taupo township and the moon over Mount Tauhara.

“Is the house on stilts?” she asked. “This is incredible, being able to see right out over the treetops.”

He came to join her, resting his hands on the curves of her hips. “No—on a natural rise in the land. It falls away quite steeply just below us.” He nuzzled into her hair, taking big deep breaths. 

The next part of my Kiwi bear

And just a reminder that this might get frisky...

Soon they were speeding along the highway beside the huge lake. Lights rippled on its inky surface, and the trail of moonlight danced and fractured under the starry sky. His hand wandered to her nearest thigh and gave it an affectionate squeeze. Atarangi returned the favour, and then trailed her fingers down to his knee and back again. Or surely somewhat higher?

Adam grunted. “Trying to distract me, pretty girl? I’m on the home stretch of road now, so as long as we don’t hit a tree you can do that all you like.” He turned off the main highway beside a very rural looking mail-box. Stones began to rattle against the underside of the Jeep and the trees closed around them in a forbidding tunnel. “Don’t want to make it too welcoming,” he said in answer to her raised eyebrows. “If we keep the access looking rough, not many people bother coming as far as the lodge.” He switched the headlights to full for better visibility.

She gave his thigh a friendly squeeze. “I don’t remember this from last night.”

“You were pretty shocked, all things considered. I’m not surprised.”

The Jeep ploughed on for another minute or so.

“Do you…” She hesitated.

He glanced sideways. “Do I what?”

She stroked down to his knee. “I don’t mean just you. Do all of you prefer to be bears or men? Dex was a man last night.”

Third episode of Kiwi Bear - a free read for you

Remember - you can read the first two parts by scrolling down. We're getting a little sexy now, so don't continue if you'll be offended.

He collected her the following evening in his big black Jeep, braving the inspections of two bony sisters and the stern glare and nose-pressing hongi greeting from her white-haired grandfather.

“Keep my mokopuna safe,” the old man instructed.

“Koro! He’s already rescued me once,” Atarangi exclaimed. “There’s not a dangerous bone in his body.” She sent Adam a wink.

“Home by midnight. I’ll leave the door unlocked,” the old boy replied.

Atarangi bristled. “I’m twenty-one. Not a teenager.”

“And I’m not a fool, Atarangi. I see the way this man looks at you.”

“She’s beautiful,” Adam inserted. “A treasure to be guarded. I’ll take care of her, never fear.” And he would, because she set all his senses alight in her high-necked black dress and strappy red sandals.

She’s hiding her body, but I know what’s under that modest disguise.

“I’ll be safer with him than anyone else,” Atarangi muttered.

“I’m pleased to hear it,” the old man said, nodding sagely. “Enjoy your dinner.”

Adam drew the door closed behind them and placed his hand on the small of her back as they walked toward the Jeep. The heat of her flesh burned through what felt like one thin layer of fabric, and he wanted that fabric gone in hurry.

More of Kiwi Bear

Okay, here we go for the next installment of this fun story. If you missed the start, it's right below. Just scroll down.

Adam picked her up before she could object further. One of his arms wrapped around her hourglass waist, the other slid under fleshy thighs. She squeaked as he lifted her, and then flung an arm around his neck to steady herself. Adam cuddled her close, smiling to himself, and loving that she was a beautiful curvy woman who seemed to have no idea of her attractions. Her amazing breasts were now only inches from his lips. Her long hair trailed over his naked shoulder and back, tickling and tempting. He turned his head, buried his nose in it, and inhaled deeply.

“How did he manage to get you here?” he asked as he carried her out into the darkening trees.

She huffed her annoyance. “He didn’t. He was already lurking around and just grabbed me.”

“And why are you here? On your own? In the half dark?”

She struggled to get down, but Adam held tight. The scent rising from her skin had given him almost superhuman strength, and again he felt the bear stirring inside him.

Her heavenly breasts rose as she took a deep breath. “I came for a private swim. I’ve got skinny sisters, okay? I don’t like comparing myself with them. I sometimes row along to here because it’s private and safe.”

“Not so safe tonight,” he muttered. “And he jumped you? He had that chain with him?”

Kiwi Bear 1 - Adam

This week's 'Extra! Extra!' is the start of a shifter novella I've been writing for fun. A free read for you - and the next two or three parts will follow each week until I publish it with this cover. Hope you enjoy!

                               Kris Pearson - cover, Sniffing Her Out

 

Adam Malone sniffed the air and let his kayak drift in the evening silence. The scent of a woman wafted just above Lake Taupo’s shimmering surface. A young woman. He turned his head, sniffing again. Yes, there she was—female, fertile, and with waves of fear mixed into her signature pheromones.

Why was she here? Why was she spooked? And more importantly, who was doing the spooking?

He took another deep, slow sniff. The grassy aroma of raupo—the Māori name for the luxuriant ‘bullrushes’ as many Kiwis called them—entered his sensitive nostrils.

Water-smells.

Bird-scents.

And again that enticing female fragrance. Delicate. Delicious. Calling to the male in him. It was more than time he found his mate and gave the world a few cubs. His lodge at the compound had been designed for family life—but so far, no family. And as the oldest of the brothers, he should set the example. He knew this, but finding his mate was proving harder than expected. Could it be her?

Apple Shortcake

This isn’t a blog as such, although sometimes it will be. It could also be one of my favourite recipes, a free story, or something beautiful that’s just appeared in our garden. Watch this space…

Our apple tree is weighed down with lovely fruit right now, so I’ve decided to share my Apple Shortcake recipe with you. This is written in very curly handwriting (in pencil!) by a lovely Scottish lady called Margaret who I worked with many years ago. There are exactly fourteen words of instruction in her version, so I’ll add a few more for the sake of clarity.

Heat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit or 200 Celsius

8 oz (or 225 grams) of plain flour

1 tsp baking powder. OR of course you can use self-raising flour with no baking powder.

3 oz (or 80 grams) of white sugar

4 oz (or 110 grams) of butter at room temperature.

Combine these until they’re like breadcrumbs. Then add one egg.  You may also need to add a few drops of cold water, depending on the size of the egg. Don’t make it too sticky!

Divide the resulting dough almost in half. Roll or pat the larger portion out to line a flan dish or pie plate. Mine is eight and a half inches (21 cm) across. Of course you can make double for a whopper.

Pages