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A contest with a difference

By now you probably know about the Christmas box-set BABY IT’S HOT OUTSIDE. With eleven authors all sneaking it into their blogs and websites and social media pages, we do hope so!

Here’s our team. You’ll know some of us all already, but it’s likely you’ll find some authors that are new to you – always a bonus.

And what’s that mystery square at the end? Well, we’ve decided to run a contest that’s different from anything else we’ve seen. We’ve each written a chapter of the final novella, and we want you to guess who wrote which one. There’s a really good prize for the winner! It’s been great fun, and a challenge to get the continuity right among so many authors. Of course there was a plot outline, but we all interpreted ‘our’ piece in different ways and there’s been some interesting reshuffling of facts and happenings. The ‘voices’ of authors really do vary a lot. I wonder if you’ll be able to pick mine? (Hint: the chapters are not in the same order as the first eleven novellas.)

USA Today best-selling author Bronwen Evans is a long-time friend of mine. I was thrilled to be invited to join her and other top Australian and New Zealand romance specialists to produce this twelve-novella steamy box-set. It launches next month. We had plenty of time to do a really good job, and with Bron at the helm I knew it would be organised superbly.

A sale on many titles

Hello - hope you're doing well? Maybe it's your mid-summer by now? Mid-winter for me, and a bit dreary weather-wise.

A Team of Twelve

Writing can be a solitary job, although there’s a lot of emailing behind the scenes, and until Covid-19 hit the world, some great conferences to attend. (“So that’s what she looks like – I thought she’d be much older. And do you reckon she sounds South African?” Goodness, we talk…)

One of the best ways to enjoy some authorly company in the current climate is to work as a team, and a box-set project is a great way to do it.

First, there’s the fun of planning. Then inviting suitable authors to take part, and settling on a theme so we produce a cohesive reading experience for you. There’s no point in having a couple of sweet boy-and-girl-next-door stories followed by a bear shifter, a multi-partner affair on a spaceship with pink aliens, and a coming-of-age story mixed in with several super-hot romances bordering on erotica. No – you know what you like, and you’d like lots of the same please. And why would we risk bad reviews by giving you a mixed bag of what you don’t want?

USA Today best-selling author Bronwen Evans is a long-time friend of mine. I was thrilled to be invited to join her and eleven other top Australian and New Zealand romance specialists to produce a 12-novella steamy box-set to launch later this year. Yay – plenty of time to do a really good job. And with Bron at the helm I knew it would be organised superbly.

Research, research...

No-one wants to read a novel full of facts and figures, but equally we don’t need writing that’s so bereft of description and interesting tid-bits we get no sense of where we are and what’s going on in the story.

For romance this is always a careful balance, and what I’m playing with right now is a novella set in Scarlet Bay – to follow Summer Sparks, Summer Secrets, and Summer Spice.

First, I needed to know more about Antarctica because that’s where my hero, Mack, has been working.  The northern arctic region includes pieces of Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. Animals there can wander in and out as the seasons change. But not so Antarctica – it’s totally surrounded by sea, so anything coming to check out the southern polar region has to be able to swim or fly. No polar bears or caribou. Lots of penguins and seals.

And how do the research scientists survive there? In this case, in the green buildings of Scott Base. I can now tell you so much about Scott Base I could bore you silly. Did you know they separate out all the human waste and bring the solid stuff back to New Zealand to avoid contaminating the ice-shelf? (Euw! No – of course I won’t be including this, but what dedication.)

What did Mack do there? How did he get home to take part in this story? It only takes a sentence or two, but the facts need to check out.

The daunting author photo

Well, you gotta have one! I must say I’m never attracted by authors who hide under hat brims, or are just a pair of eyes behind a coffee mug or a book. I like to see the real person, so I guess that holds true in reverse.

When I started publishing ten years ago, I went out in the garden, stood in front of a pretty rhododendron called Milkmaid, and grinned at my husband as he popped off a few shots. A bit squinty, but surely that would do?

 

But time went by, and I’d really like you to see the ‘current me’ in case you get a terrible fright if you meet me in person. So I tried again – selfies this time. I’m no Kim Kardashian who reputedly takes five hundred to get one perfect shot for Instagram, but it’s amazing how many are bad. Ooops – eyes half closed. Ooops – bra strap showing. Darn – wind making hair stand up on top.

 

And speaking of hair, my bright hair looks better on a dark background, so I stood against our upstairs bathroom door and managed to look exactly like my mother (except she never wore a metallic-printed T-shirt in her whole life.) Then I started writing the Merry Summerfield cozy mysteries and thought adding some of the animals from the covers might be cute. Hmmm… but probably not for readers of the hotter romances! That didn’t last long.

Making an entrance

How much do first impressions count with you? Do you judge other people by their clothes? Do you flick past books because the covers don’t grab you, even if the author is someone with a huge reputation?  Do you get a giggle from backgrounds for Zoom sessions when there’s a lampshade right on top of someone’s head? Or a bookcase so artfully arranged behind them that you KNOW they’ve tidied it specially?

I suspect appearances matter more than ever these days. The world is moving so fast, and not always in a good way. You don’t get long to form an opinion. Or, indeed, to make an impression.

Kris Pearson author's front garden

 I’m writing this as the USA changes Presidents, and I know many millions of people are holding their breath about what might happen next. What sort of impression would a first-time visitor to Washington DC gain this week?

I’ve had some time to myself lately because my husband ended up in hospital for a serious and most unexpected heart operation.  When I wasn’t visiting him in hospital I found I couldn’t write because I was a mess of worry. (He’s now doing well).  It’s no fun staring at the screen when last time’s words refuse to progress further, so I’ve been taking my annoyance out on the garden. Specifically the piece in front of the house. Literally making an entrance.

Just some pretty garden stuff

Kale. Who likes kale? I love the ornamental varieties, and every winter I grow some in pots that can be placed in the best spots when it's looking spectacular. Right now it's these two varieties, but they'll be shooting off to seed soon.

White ornamental kale

 

Purple ornamental kale

Every leaf is different... masterpieces in miniature. Can you eat it? No way! You'd better stick to the supermarket or green-grocer's  stock for that.

Pre-Christmas specials

Okay - here are my Christmas treats for you: There's too much happening right now to write any more, so click the covers and you'll be taken to the page for that book, and the link to get it from Amazon.

Merry Christmas from me!

1. Christmas Holiday Hearts is down to 99 cents.  Save $3.

Christmas Holiday Hearts - Kris Pearson

 

Ravishing Rose will be FREE December 5th for a few days

Ravishing Rose - Kris Pearson

 

Murder in the Aisle will be free from December 6th

Murder in the Aisle - Kris Pearson

 

I hope you have a very merry Christmas in this exceedingly strange year. I hope someone buys you goodies, or cooks you dinner, or Zooms you if you can't meet face to face. I hope you get great books for Christmas.  A more peaceful world would be nice. And fast, effective vacinations for everyone. Not much to hope for, is it!

Diamonds and Emeralds

These are the earrings I’m wearing today. I last wore them on my wedding day, 49 years ago.

             

They’re nothing special (look at those awful settings around the stones) but to me they’re intensely special. My grandfather gave them to my grandmother in 1919, and then he died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.  She gave them to my mother. My mother gave them to me. I wore them for my wedding and wished I hadn’t, because they had old-fashioned screw fittings that just about killed my earlobes. We think they’re Italian.

All these years later I’m having a jewellery adventure. My friend Bernice mentioned a very good manufacturing jeweller here in Wellington, and I thought, “Get those earrings changed!” I also thought, “Do something with those old rings.”

            

Brian Barrett and his wife Helen have a studio in the nearby suburb of Karori. Their website is https://bhbdesigns.co.nz/ - currently undergoing redesign as I write this. I can’t recommend them highly enough – lovely people and beautiful work. All their contact numbers are there.

Birds of a feather...

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