You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dazzled and Diamonds!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this year and Santa got you all you deserve! I must have been a very good girl this year, as I received the very best present in the world. My two newest nephews were finally brought home to New Zealand from Tsunami-ravaged Samoa. It's been a hard road for all the family, waiting and praying, writing letters and waiting again. But finally they are here! They are amazing, as are their new parents, and I so look forward to all the time we have together in the future. I've felt truly blessed this year...

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Congratulations to Vonnie Davis for winning Rachel Lynne's "A Ring of Lies"
I must admit to being a little green Vonnie! Enjoy : )

Come say hi to Jennifer Schmidlin, tell me what number in the Jewel of the Night series "Dazzled" is - and be in to win an e-copy of her fabulous story! You'll be sorry if you miss the opportunity to win!

(Hint - check out The Wild Rose Press site as some have been missed on this blog!)

In the meantime, here is a peak behind the scenes of what went into the making of Dazzled. Enjoy!

Jennifer - welcome to Novel Natterings. Could you tell us how long it took you to write Dazzled, and what attracted you to the series originally?
I gave myself a little over three months to write Dazzled. The more I thought about the series the more intrigued I became. It hounded me for weeks before I actually sat down and began writing.

How was it writing for a series and how did you come up with your plot?
I enjoyed writing Dazzled because it gave me specific guidelines to follow as well as a creation deadline. I work better under pressure. I'm not a plotter, but after I figured out what I wanted to do with the jewel, everything naturally fell into place. This is actually my second series book. I did not intentionally write my first novel with a series in mind, but The Wild Rose Press added it to their Men in Uniform line.

Was the writing journey smooth and were there any snags along the way, particularly because of the tighter deadline?
This journey started out smooth, but hit some rough terrain along the way. My editor loved the first three chapters, which inspired me to keep going. However, half way through the book she informed me she was moving on to pursue a teaching career. Thankfully, she stuck with me until the end, and made Dazzled her final project.

Do you have a favourite character? (please excuse the Kiwi spelling!) : )
My favorite character is Gerty, the hero's mother who resides in a nursing home. She's a feisty lady, who sadly, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I love her interaction with the heroine, Josie, and how baffled she makes her at times.

Magic? Death by fornication?

Josie Melbourne is not a superstitious woman, but when she is given a blue, heart shaped hunk of glass from a ninety-two year old woman, her life drastically changes. Is it coincidental that moments after she receives the gift, she seduces the elderly woman's son? And in a bathroom of all places?

Travis Bramble has loved Josie for months, but she barely tolerates his presence. A prudish demeanor often accompanied her to the rest-home during visiting hours, but the evening she rubs her cute little behind against his groin, things begin changing…for his benefit.

“Hi, Gerty, where’s mom?”
“Shush. They'll hear you, child.”
Not again! Josie pulled a chair beside Gerty and sat down. In case she needed to make a quick exit, she left her coat on. “Gerty?” She lowered her voice. “Gerty, I want to apologize for what happened yesterday with Travis. You know…” she nudged her head toward the bathroom. “In there. My behavior was inappropriate.”
Slowly, Gerty turned her head and looked into Josie’s eyes. A big, toothless grin formed across her mouth. “You don't need to apologize.” She patted Josie’s hand. “I understand, child. It was the jewel.”
“What jewel? You mean the heart?”
“Yes. I told you it’s magical. It made you do those things to my son.”
Josie understood Gerty’s superstitions, but she refused to play along today. She opened her purse and removed the heart from the bottom. Why was it so warm when it'd been sitting in cold leather? “I can't keep this.” Maybe it does have special powers. No, it doesn't. Carefully, she took Gerty’s frail hand and placed the piece in the center of her palm. Think about it, Josie. What if it did? Let’s just take for instance, you hated Travis, but you seduced him almost the instant you dropped it in your pocket. Stop it! It’s a little piece of glass. Got it! “It belongs to you. Pass it onto your son. It should stay in your family.”
Gerty scowled. “I told you, men cannot possess the gem. Bad things will happen.”
The elder woman moved closer, took hold of Josie’s arm with a firm grip, and whispered, “It turns them into animals. They have their way with women and can't stop. They've been known to fornicate themselves to death.”

Buy Link:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Jewel - Rachel Lynne

Please help me welcome and congratulate author Rachel Lynne
on her debut novella Ring of Lies!

A café owner and an ex-cop must unravel the mystery surrounding a hot blue diamond in order to stop a cold blooded killer.
After a childhood lived on the road with a free-spirited aunt, all café owner Ivy Michaels wants is a normal and uneventful life, but when her aunt is found floating in the Savannah River, Ivy inherits an heirloom blue diamond and a killer bent on keeping the past buried. Dom Riordan is an ex-cop obsessed with finding his mother's killer. A chance meeting, and a glimpse of evidence he's been seeking, convinces him that Ivy Michaels is the key to solving the crime. Dom devises a plan to date Ivy and ferret out the truth but he didn't count on losing his heart. As a ruthless killer closes in on Ivy, Dom will risk everything to keep her safe.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, LaVerne. I keep thinking, I never would have heard about the Jewel of the Night submission call if I hadn’t visited The Wild Rose Press’ website in December of 2009 to purchase my friend Amber Shelley’s first book. That click of the mouse sent my life in an entirely new direction; surreal!

I started writing in March of 2009 and had been working on the same paranormal Regency for ten months when I decided to write a story for the Jewel of the Night line. I had a heroine, a setting, and a vague notion of a crime involving a blue diamond but the deadline for submission to The Wild Rose Press was March 31, 2010; and I had never finished a manuscript before! To say panic was setting in would be a vast understatement.

With three months to finish and edit a novel I sat down to write, only to find I had no idea where to take my story after the first chapter. All I can say is, thank God for my critique group! I submitted my first chapter and, as luck would have it, my pages fell into the hands of Riley Quinn, another writer who happened to be working on a Jewel of the Night submission. She sent my pages back with a note asking if I’d like to work together. I jumped at her offer. She too was having trouble with her story’s direction so we chatted in an online chat room, asking each other questions about our characters and playing “what if” with our plots. I wrote what became Ring of Lies, in less than eight weeks. Without Riley, I never would have nailed down a cohesive plot and knowing she was expecting my completed chapters every week for critique pushed me to complete the story.

The decision to write for the Jewel of the Night line also sent my writing career in a new direction. Up to that point, I had intended to write paranormal Regency novels. Writing for the romantic suspense genre never entered my mind. Looking back at my choice of reading material however, writing stories with a strong element of suspense should have been a natural choice. My favorite romance author is Jayne Ann Krentz. I love her contemporary romantic suspense novels and the Regencies she writes as Amanda Quick and, if I’m not reading one of Ms. Krentz’ novels I’m likely to be curled up with a cozy mystery by Dorothy Cannell, Carolyn G. Hart, or Diane Mott Davidson.

The works of these great authors has definitely influenced my writing; and caused me a bit of consternation! While working on my new website, my designer directed me to several websites she’d designed for other authors of romantic suspense and that’s when I realized I didn’t fit the current romantic suspense mold! They were all beautiful sites but the tone they conveyed was what I think of as ‘action movie’ suspense; law enforcement themes with lots of guns and explosions. Ring of Lies and the other novels I’m working on, are filled with quirky characters going about their normal lives until something happens that shoves them out of their comfort zones and into a world filled with danger and intrigue. Because of this “hybrid” approach, I have taken to calling my writing style ‘cozy romantic suspense’.

Though I didn’t start with the intention, Ring of Lies incorporates many elements of a cozy mystery; a quirky heroine thrown into the role of amateur sleuth, an odd-ball best friend, and a cantankerous cat. My heroine, Ivy Michaels is a chef on the verge of opening her own café. All is right with her world until, days before the grand opening of the Cosmic Café, her aunt is found dead in the Savannah River. Poor Ivy, it’s all downhill from there! But, in my defense, I’d like to point out that had I not plunged Ivy’s life into chaos she would never have met the man of her dreams, Dom Riordan. See? I’m not a completely heartless puppet master!

Writing Ring of Lies was a lot of fun. The basic premise of a woman inheriting a blue diamond from an aunt came from the fact that I have a blue diamond and … yep, it belonged to my aunt. Oh! Since Ivy’s Aunt Fey is a bit, umm let’s be charitable and say eccentric, I should stress that she bears no resemblance to my aunt!

I have to say that working with The Wild Rose Press was also a great experience. Lori, my editor, was a tremendous help and her suggestions during the editing process really helped me tighten Ring of Lies’ story line. The other authors in the “Rose Garden” have also made my first venture into the publishing world a smooth and pleasant journey. Everyone is so supportive and eager to help; makes this only child feel like she’s suddenly gained hundreds of sisters!

I really can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity, LaVerne! I’d also like to thank all of your readers by offering a free copy of Ring of Lies. I’ll pick a winner from all those who leave a comment.
On my website Ivy shares some of her Cosmic Café recipes while I showcase the myriad of things in Savannah that inspire my writing, so please visit, I’d love to hear from readers!

“I’m so sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Ivy Michaels …”
The air rushed from his lungs as if he’d been sucker punched. His heart raced and he gasped for breath as he stared, transfixed by the large blue diamond glittering on her finger.
“Mr. Riordan? Are you okay?” Her eyes were wide and filled with concern. He’d been right, he noted absently, her eyes were blue; as vivid a blue as the damn ring on her finger.
He met her eyes and nodded while his mind raced. He needed a moment alone. He needed time to think, to get control and figure out what the hell was going on. “Could I,” he cleared his throat and tried again. “Could I get a glass of water?”
“Of course! I’ll be right back!” She ran across the room and disappeared through the swinging kitchen door.
He took a deep breath and struggled to control the violent emotions roaring through him. He’d know that ring anywhere. It was etched into his memory, burned into his retinas. The damn thing even haunted his dreams. He’d searched for it; spent the better part of his two years as a detective trying to find even a hint of its whereabouts and now, the thing just turned up, out of the blue and on the finger of James Brogan’s mistress. It couldn’t be a coincidence. Dominic Riordan was nobody’s fool and he didn’t believe in coincidence, fate, or dumb luck.

Blogging at Naughty in the Backseat today!

I'm blogging at the above site today about last-minute gift ideas.

Come visit, it's a wonderful blog with gorgeous eye candy!

I'd love to see you there!

Murder, Mi Amore - Winner Announced

Congratulations Loretta!

Carolyn will be sending her story through to you shortly. Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Murder, Mayhem and Mmm, mmm...

Happy release day to Carolyn Matkowsky w/a Cara Marsi for her novella, "Murder, Mi Amore"!

Carolyn is kindly giving away an e-copy of her story, so leave a comment to be in to win!

Thank you, LaVerne, for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog.

It's an absolute pleasure Carolyn : ) Could you tell us a little about what drew you to the series, a little about the process, and how long it took you to write it?

I saw the email from The Wild Rose Press regarding the Jewel of the Night Series in October 2009 right before I left for a two-week trip up the California coast. I thought about it while on my trip. The idea of a story about a stolen blue diamond intrigued me. I loved that it could be set anywhere in the world. I'd been to Italy in 2006 and I was itching to write a story set in Rome, which I love. Things just fell into place after that. The Wild Rose Press had a deadline of March 31, 2010. I'm glad they did because I might still be dawdling over the story. It's a novella, about 40,000 words, but I've never written anything so fast in my life. I started writing in late November 2009. My wonderful critique groups-my online group and my face-to-face group-helped. I got Murder, Mi Amore in before the March 31 deadline. Most of it is set in Rome. There's a chapter set in the small town in the province of Abruzzo, Italy, where my grandparents came from. The story ends in Las Vegas where my son lives.

What was it like writing for a series? Where did you come up with the idea for the plot?

This is the first time I've written for a series and it's a lot of fun. I feel a kinship to the other "jewels" authors. The plot just sort of plopped into my head. I thought about all those Alfred Hitchcock movies where ordinary folk find themselves wrapped up in intrigue. I wondered how it would feel to be an innocent American tourist in Rome who suddenly finds herself in a heap of trouble involving jewel thieves, terrorists, and a hunky, mysterious Italian. I brainstormed my idea with my online critique group and together we worked out the plot.

How smooth was the publishing journey and was it different to others because of the tighter deadline?

It went more smoothly than I would have thought. Having such a short deadline really forced me to focus.

Favourite part of the book/favourite character? Why?

I love my heroine Lexie. But I also fell in love with my hero Dominic. Lexie is an ordinary woman thrust into extraordinary circumstances and she meets her challenges head on. I love that quality about her. And Dominic is so strong and protective. He's been told Lexie is a terrorist, but she's the most unlikely terrorist he's ever known. He wants to protect her, not bring her to justice, which presents a dilemma for him. My favorite scene is the morning when Lexie and Dominic decide to trust each other and make love. It changes the dynamics of the story.

Anything else you'd like to add? How do your readers get a hold of you?

I'll offer a free copy of Murder, Mi Amore through a drawing of all those who leave a comment.
Please visit my website at
I love to hear from readers.

I also made a video trailer for Murder, Mi Amore. Here's the link:

Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems like the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.
“Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.
Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.
Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”
“I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.
Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”
He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”
“No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”
“Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay. You’re safe with me.”
She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?

Buy Link:

Thanks so much for those insights Carolyn! For those commenting, the draw will be done Monday 2oth December. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exotic Escapism - Christine DePetrillo

The winner of Riley Quinn's "Blood Diamond" is...Jill James! Congrats Jill and thanks so much for stopping by : ) Enjoy!

I don't know about you, but I'm loving the opportunity to find out how other authors tick, how they go about their work, and anything else that pops up along the way. Please help me welcome Christine DePetrillo to Novel Natterings, and enjoy a sneak peak at her book, "Lazuli Moon". It sounds like an exciting read!

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Thank you for taking part Christine. I have a few questions to find out a bit more about you and your Jewel of the Night story.

Firstly, how long did you give yourself to write it?
It took me about a month to write LAZULI MOON. Once I got started, I just couldn't stop. I had to be with Nivia and Ben all the time.

What was it like writing for a series?
Writing for a series was a fun challenge. The publisher wanted romantic suspense that revolved around a blue diamond. This was like getting a homework assignment, and being a teacher by day, I just LOVE homework assignments!

Where did you come up with the idea for the plot?
This is the other thing I liked about writing for a series with a specific assignment. Even though there were some "rules" for the story, I had a blast thinking of how to incorporate a blue diamond into a romantic suspense. I wanted LAZULI MOON to have an Indiana Jones feel to it and wanted an exotic location like the rainforest. I learned a great deal about the Valdivian Rainforest in Chile while writing this tale. For me, research is half the fun!

How smooth was the publishing journey and was it different to others because of the tighter deadline?
The publishing journey was smooth and painless as it always is with The Wild Rose Press. I've worked with three editors so far, each from different lines, and I've loved them all. Knowledgeable and attentive to every detail, this publisher has been a pleasure to work with.

Favourite part of the book/favourite character? Why?
My favorite character is Nivia. I like her adventurous spirit. I feel as if I got to go to the Valdivian Rainforest through her.

Three people search for the legendary Lazuli Moon in the Valdivian Rainforest.
Two of them will find a treasure they never expected.
One won’t live to see another day.

Archaeologist and professor Dr. Nivia Charu can’t let the Lazuli Moon remain hidden forever. With her teaching position threatened and no funds for an expedition, Nivia fears the blue diamond fabled to have healing powers will never be unearthed.

Physician Dr. Benjamin Forrester wants to cure his uncle’s cancer. His attempts at manufacturing a remedy, however, have failed. Desperate and out of options, Ben needs a miracle, and Nivia may just hold the key.

Up against a crazed boat captain and ancient curses, Ben and Nivia join forces to seek the Lazuli Moon. What waits for them in the depths of the rainforest will either make them famous or kill them.

There was something about Ben…

Heat burned Nivia’s cheeks, and it wasn’t due to the fire in the center of their camp. She was far enough away from the flames to not be overwhelmed by their heat. The temperature change occurring on her skin had to do with Ben and only him. Nivia risked a glance across the campfire.
Ben scraped his fork along the inside of his food pouch trying for the last remnants of his dinner. He placed the emptied pouch by his feet and used his napkin to wipe at a spot on his jeans. Nivia couldn’t hold in the laughter, and Ben looked up.

“What’s so funny?” he said.

“You’re a little uncoordinated in the eating department,” Nivia said.

Ben shrugged. “Been that way since I was a kid. My uncle says it’s because I’m always in a hurry. That I’d rather be doing something else instead of eating.”

“Is that an accurate assessment?”

“I suppose so. I eat to live, not live to eat, I guess.” He looked down to the spot on his jeans. “I could try to be neater though.”

“Don’t change a thing,” Nivia said before she could stop herself.

Ben’s lips turned up into a smile that hit Nivia square in the heart. She didn’t know if it was because she now knew what those lips felt like on hers, or if Ben was just one of the sexiest men she’d met in a long time.

Buy link:

Visit Christine here:

Group blog:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Red Hot Release - Riley Quinn

The winner of the e-copy of Guardian of the Jewel is...Maeve! Thanks for stopping by Maeve.

Please help me welcome Riley Quinn to this second installment of the Jewel of the Night series.

Riley's book, "Blood Diamond" has already received some great reviews, and I can tell you from my own experience, you will be blown away with the world she draws you into. Leave a comment and be in to win your very own e-copy of Blood Diamond. Good luck!

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Thanks for having me today, LaVerne.

I first heard about the Jewel of the Night series last fall. A friend who was already published with The Wild Rose Press forwarded the information on to me. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Only one problem, I couldn’t think of a story!

So I shoved it to the back of my mind. Then one day I was watching a rerun of Bones, the pilot episode where she’s walking through the airport with a skull. I got to thinking about how physical anthropologists (those that study bones) sometimes went to exotic locations for work. Just that little thought really got the creative juices flowing.

What other kinds of professions required travel like that? Where would I want the action to take place? I didn’t know much about diamonds so Google was my friends. After searching “blue diamonds” for a while, I came across an article that talked about the Republic of Congo getting sanctioned in 2004 for having too many diamonds exported when there were no mines.

Ooh, what could I do with that? So I thought some more. My characters starting talking to me. Around this time last year, I had the kernel of an idea. After the first of the year, I started writing. I turned some pages into a critique group I’m a member of and got some pages of someone’s else’s story about a blue diamond.

What are the chances? So I emailed her and we chatted back and forth. We decided to work with each other to get our stories done and out there. We met for writing sprints. We helped work out plot holes. We helped figure out what our characters were trying to say. We both made the March 31 deadline. I’m proud to say we both got picked up. My book, Blood Diamond released December 1 and my partner in crime, Rachel Lynne’s book comes out December 22.

I had a great time writing my story, thanks in part to working with another author. Writing can be lonely work and for me being in Europe, even more so because of the time difference. I loved my characters and seeing them learn to trust each other. But best of all, I loved the location of the story.

I’ve never been to the Congo jungle where my story is set. I did a LOT of research and I hope it comes across as realistic. It gave me some extra options to add suspense. I hope that my readers enjoy the exotic locale as well.

Dodging an angry warlord and running through the rain forest in Congo Brazzaville was not what Jillian St. James expected when she signed up with Doctors Without Borders. Yet that’s exactly what she gets after a mysterious visit from her brother.
Mercenary Mack Nichols doesn’t have much faith in humanity these days. When the beautiful young doctor denies being part of the theft of a blue diamond from his client, he doesn’t put much stock in her story.
Neither have reason to trust the other and their mutual attraction is an inconvenience to both. A betrayal and the reveal of an evil plan pit these two against an army. Can they put aside their doubts and work together to bring down a corrupt, power-hungry overlord or will their chance at love be over before it ever starts?

“Are you all right, Jillian?”
The husky timber of his voice sent another shiver through her, this time having nothing to do with fear.
How could she be aroused after being scared so bad? Especially with a man like this one, a man who worked for the General. She was one sick puppy.
“Jillian?” A hand came down on her shoulder and she jumped.
Finally lifting her head, she ignored Mack and trained her attention on the log where she’d been sitting. As recognition set in, her entire body began to shake and her heart pounded so hard she feared cracking a rib. Dear God. A yellow-green snake with ridged scales lay in two pieces on the log she’d occupied. Eyes the same color of its body stared sightlessly toward the fire.
She swallowed, trying to wet her dry throat. “Is that—”
“An African Bush Viper? Yep. I think in the firelight, your hand must have looked like dinner.” Though the snake now lay dead, Mack’s voice still sounded strained.
She stood on shaky legs. “I didn’t even see it there.”
“I’m not surprised. It had coiled its tail around the branch overhead and dropped from there.”
If he hadn’t seen the highly poisonous snake, she’d be dead right now. She launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face in his throat. She heard a thud and then his arms were around her, surrounding her in a blanket of safety. For the first time, she thought maybe he really would keep his promise.

Buy Link:

I enjoyed stopping by today and talking about my story. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask away. Again, thanks, LaVerne for sharing your space with me.
It's a pleasure Riley : )
Be sure to stop by next post where Christine DePetrillo stops by to talk about her story, Lazuli Moon.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dazzling Diamonds, Heartbreaking Heros

With my first post fading fast in the rearvision mirror, it's time for another one! With the Jewel of the Night series kicking off with my story last month, I was fascinated by the other stories coming through and how different they all were. Then I thought, how great would it be to learn a bit about each author's thought processes, how they came up with their plotlines and what, if anything, their influences were.

For the next couple of months, I'll be featuring my fellow 'Jewels' and their stories as they release. Sit back, relax and'll be a thrilling ride!

My story came to life as the result of a special submission call by the Crimson/Suspense Line of The Wild Rose Press. The guidelines were simple. Write a suspenseful, romantic story featuring a blue diamond, set anywhere in the world, minimum of 20,000 words.

My good friend and writing buddy, Cherie le Clare (TWRP author) emailed the details and asked me if I thought I could write a story to suit by the end of March. She would help me all the way with critiqueing, encouragement and anything else I might need. At that time, I had three months and thought that was plenty - and it wouldn't worry me if I didn't acheive "The End" in the specified time. I was unpublished and had never submitted anything to a publisher before, so the whole idea seemed surreal to me. Normally, I was very shy about sharing my work - with anyone. I don't think I'd really shared anything with Cherie either. But something got into me that day, and I'm mighty glad it did.

Now there is no stopping me from bombarding my editor and others at TWRP with future offerings. The feedback they gave from the original query and edit suggestions, right through to the final version of my book, were all positive and such a great experience for this newbie to the publishing world. I wish everyone's initiation was as wonderful as mine was.

My knowledge of diamonds was limited to the engagement ring on my finger and how pretty it looks sparkling under lights. Google is a writer's best friend, so I paid a visit to that fantastic search engine and came up some ideas. I liked the sound of South Africa where they mine the diamonds, but wanted to set the story in my home country of New Zealand, which brought on the idea of a diamond stolen and hidden in New Zealand. Then my characters appeared to me - Amy - strong but struggling in all the ways possible, and Gabriel - hig morals and loyal, but yet not all he seems. The character that came to me first though was the villain Razor. I had so much fun writing him. What is it about baddies that they're such fun to write?

After coming to terms with the brutal death of her husband by unknown thugs half a world away from New Zealand, Amy Hamblin concentrates on bringing up their son alone, struggling to make their dream of an action-adventure tourism venture a success.
When a dark, dangerous-looking man knocks on her door late at night claiming to be a guest, the safe, quiet life she’d created is suddenly anything but...
Gabriel Ryan’s task of finding the priceless blue diamond Amy’s husband stole from an organised crime ring, is made all the more difficult by the attraction that sizzles between them. Playing a role had never been so hard, and now, with a ruthless killer on the trail of the missing jewel as well, he needed all his wits about him to keep them all alive.

Gabriel’s knee pressed into Amy’s thigh and sent unexpected frissons of longing to race through her system. The thin material of her jodhpurs weren’t any barrier to his heat. She scrambled to regain her composure and urged Pippin away, fixing her concentration on the path ahead.
“I’m not looking for romance,” she stated flatly. “I have a child to raise and a business to run. That’s more than enough for me."
“It’s not nearly enough for a woman like you,” he murmured, his changeable eyes darkened to molten steel and raked over her in thorough appraisal. Her shaky resolve melted away under the heat.
Unable to take a breath, let alone speak, Amy lifted her hand and gave the signal to ride single file. As she trotted ahead, the unmistakable sound of soft laughter followed her. He recognized she was running away and the knowledge he was right made her face flame all the more.

* * * *
All comments go in the draw for an e-copy of "Guardian of the Jewel" drawn Sunday 12 December, New Zealand time ; )

Next post will be about the talented Riley Quinn and her story, "Blood Diamond"
See you then!

Monday, December 6, 2010

So I've started a what?

Ahem...Ok, I guess I introduce myself first : )

To those who don't know me, I'm a recently published author for The Wild Rose Press. They are the fantabulous company who affirmed I could write and made my manuscript Guardian of the Jewel the wonderful book that it is today.

It's been a fairytale start for me in this publishing world, and so who better to interview me than the review site, Once Upon A Romance, on the release of my debut novel? They also reviewed Guardian (a nail-biting experience!) and awarded it four stars. You can find the full interview here: http://http//

We own an ex-racing greyhound whom we adopted over a year and a half ago now. I've fallen deeply in love with her, and lay the blame squarely at her four paws of why I've become involved with the charity Greyhounds As Pets. I'm the area coordinator for our region of Godzone, and help to find new homes for Jazzy's kennel mates once they've finished racing. It's slow progress, but we are getting a presence out there now. Jazzy and I have featured in a couple of magazine articles and one newspaper article so far. Next on the agenda are school visits and Rotary club presentations, mixed in with a bit of sausage sizzle fundraisers. Here we are pictured in our local Santa Parade last weekend. Extremely hot weather - but it was a blast!

Just in case it's not obvious - our theme was Shrek - I'd just forgotten to paint myself green!

That's it from me, until next time, see you around!