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

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Page 99 Test - Guardian of the Jewel

After reading a fellow author's page 99's - I decided to see how my own stood up.
What do you think? Does it make you want to know more?  

Getting gingerly to her feet, she directed her
light to the grunting mound of male fury, unable to
tear her eyes away from the deadly struggle. Snarls
punctuated the air. She winced at the sound of flesh
hit with great force. Neither gained the upper hand,
both men matched in strength. Amy held her breath
each time Gabe was underneath his opponent. But
within seconds, the position reversed.
   Beneath the loud curses and harsh breathing of
the fight, she detected a faint voice. Daniel! She
skirted the men and hurried to the rail, peering into
the darkness below.
   “I’m here, Daniel,” she called back.
   “What’s going on up there?” His voice trembled.
   “Gabe’s here.”
   “I told you he’d find us.”

   She couldn’t help but smile at the unwavering
belief in his hero. “Yes, you were right.”

   Amy spun around at the guttural yell and froze.
Her gaze zeroed in on the barrel of the gun. Aimed
squarely between her eyes. Everything happened in
slow motion, like a dream sequence, her vision
crystal clear.
   Gabe wrestled the blond man for the gun, his
brute strength and desperation turned death from
her face. The barrel came level with his chest, slick
with sweat and still bare from their earlier
encounter. A thick finger tightened on the trigger

   Someone grunted. The awful, muffled sound of
the bullet hitting human flesh reverberated through
the close confines of the mine. Amy stared, horrified
at the neat, black hole low on Gabriel’s right
shoulder. Although he’d recovered the weapon, it
was clear he couldn’t move the arm.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Woo-hoo!! Just had to share my euphoria with everyone while I can still see straight and to display my nifty new web-badge. So cool! Now - I think I had a husband and children somewhere... I'd better go and introduce myself to them again : )

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo - Arghh!

Yep. It's that time of year when those writer-people attempt the near-impossible - write a 50,000 novel in one month. And for the first time, I've decided to give it a go. And now I'm thinking ARE YOU CRAZY?!

My latest novella (coming sometime in 2012 by The Wild Rose Press), Affinity just shy of 30,000 words, took 3 months of late nights and grumpy days. How are my children and husband going to handle one crazy month with an even crazier mother and wife? Ah...but I have a cunning plan... : )

The story is a sequel to Affinity and one I'm super excited to start. It's all there in my head, with plot-lines written down in black and white and the hero clamouring to make his presence felt. I can't wait to bring him to life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

For the Love of Sci-fi - Greta van der Rol

Please help me welcome the incredibly talented Science Fiction romance author, Greta van der Rol to Novel Natterings. I was lucky enough to read The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy recently and I was immediately entranced by the incredible characters and world Greta had established. I'm so glad her latest release is now available - I can't wait to dive in!

Hi Greta, thanks for visiting us here on Novel Natterings. I'm curious as to what drew you to write science fiction over 'traditional' romances.  

Why do I like writing science fiction? Because it's lots and lots of FUN. I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie back in 1975 (was it that long about?) and really enjoying the ride. Especially that awesome first scene where the Imperial Star Destroyer catches up with Princess Leia's ship and passes over the top of it. I ducked. But that was the engagement party, if you like. When “The Empire Strikes Back” was released, I fell in love. I saw that movie four times in one week and I must have watched it dozens of times since. Oh, man. Sexy dudes in black uniforms, great big star destroyers, space battles. Oh yeah, and that little Yoda guy and the bloke in the orange jumpsuit.

Who cared if the science was flawed? The hyperdrive's broken? Can't get to hyperspace – and yet you can still bunny-hop to a star system nearby? Yeah, right. And then there's Han Solo's quip about completing the Kessel run in x parsecs. (A parsec is a unit of distance, not time). Spaceships dog fight like world war one bi-planes as if they were in atmosphere, not space and nobody seems to need airlocks for anything. To mention just a few.

There's an awful lot scientifically wrong with the Star Wars universe but nobody cares. You go along for the ride. You'll find many, many so-called SF books do the same thing. Humans go and talk to aliens on planets without any breathing equipment, protective suits, special boots to cater for the higher or lower gravity etc etc. Inter-planetary travel is like catching the number nineteen bus.

I love looking at the stars and reading about the expansions in physics and technology and I love to read books with science at its heart. I grew up on Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Heinlein and more lately Elizabeth Moon and Jack McDevitt who use science as the backbone to their fiction. So in my writing I try to use that example. Sure, my stories are space opera about strong, capable men and strong, equally capable women. But I can justify the background of my universe.

When I wrote “The Iron Admiral” books I wanted a non-humanoid alien but I also recognised that if I wanted a species that could exist on the same planet as humans they would have to come from the same sort of planet. So that's a premise I made when I created the ptorix. I recently wrote a guest blog about their background

With my spaceships I don't deny my battlecruisers owe a passing nod to Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica – as well as modern day aircraft carriers. But my ships have airlocks to transfer from the vacuum of space to aired up interior, not a cavernous bay that ships can just fly into. I use artificial gravity, too, because the human body will atrophy in space without gravity. Sure, we can't do it now – but this is science fiction. Like every other writer of space opera I have faster than light travel (FTL) in my galaxy so my characters can travel from one planet to another without dying of old age. I explained how that worked in

What I'm saying is, I've done my homework. I can justify my universe. I don't explain the science in my books much but the background is there. Like an iceberg, you'll only see the tip above the surface but rest assured, there's an awful lot down there to support the visible part.

Given all of that, my main purpose has been to write an action-packed adventure story set in space.

According to the reviews I've received for both 'Morgan's Choice' and 'The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy' I've succeeded; 'The Iron Admiral: Deception' carries on (quite literally) from where 'The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy' left off.  I hope all you readers out there have as much fun reading them as I had writing them.
Greta van der Rol loves writing science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.

Buy Links
or other online book stores.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GIVEAWAY - Guardian of the Jewel

If you haven't already - go check out Jerri's page. She's highlighting the week with suspense authors from The Wild Rose Press. They rock! (if I do say so myself)  ; )

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sara Douglass - Silence of the Dying

One of my favourite authors is terribly unwell with Cancer. I stumbled on this most beautiful and honest of posts from her when she was well enough to write how she was feeling. I was at once humbled, touched and ashamed. I recognised myself in the reactions of people around her when they were faced with someone they loved dying.

After reading her post, I vow to be a better friend, confidant and person when I'm needed. I will not let my loved ones down again.

Thank you Sara for opening my eyes to the awful silence. Your words will live with me forever.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle


Fresh from her visit to her first Grandchild in Seattle, Cherie Le Clare shares the beautiful Dean with us. He is one gorgeous little boy Cherie!

                Sleepless in Seattle

I’m shamelessly trading on the famous film title to drive all you internet grazers straight to Novel

Welcome! I live in New Zealand but both my sons live in Seattle, and I, along with my husband (to carry my bulging suitcase of knitted and crocheted baby gifts), recently flew over to the big USA to meet our very first grandchild. Only one week old, and as cute as a button, Dean captivated us from the very first moment. We all went out to brunch in a trendy cafe one morning and he slept right through all the noise, music and hustle and bustle. We took turns test-driving his stroller, and I got to bathe him one afternoon.

What can I tell you about Seattle? It’s a very attractive city, set on gentle hills on a beautiful harbour (harbor). The weather during our 12 day stay was fine and hot every day, bar one. The bus service in and out of the centre is regular and cheap as chips (make that fries) – we even had several rides for free one day when we kept getting onto the wrong buses – our fault for not asking the son we stayed with the name of the suburb he lived in. Every time we got off a bus, after realizing we’d caught the wrong one, the drivers would say, “Pay on the next bus.” We didn’t get around to that because in the end we gave up and called a taxi.

Another adventure was when we went to the famous Pike Street Market and asked where I could purchase some wool(or yarn as it’s called in America). “Yes,” a helpful lady said, “there’s a shop down the street and here’s a map to find it!” My surprise was soon replaced by gratitude when we realized just how well-hidden ‘So Much Yarn’ is. First task: Find the black wrought-iron gates. Second: Try to open them. Third: Press the intercom button and ask how to open them. Fourth: Climb the stairs to the second floor. Fifth: Walk along the outdoor terrace to the very end. Success!

      “You must have only very determined customers here,” I said to the ladies behind the counter, “because I doubt mere browsers would make the effort.”
They laughed and agreed with me.
      “Do you reward customers with coffee for making it to the door?” I asked – me being a cheeky Kiwi.
      “We don’t have coffee but we’ll be glad to make you a cup of tea.”

We accepted graciously, astonished at the outstanding service (the retail sector is exempt from a 15% tip - unlike restaurants and cafes where it is virtually compulsory). We reckoned those ladies deserved a tip though, especially as the tea was accompanied by gold-wrapped chocolate coins!

Fortified by tea and chocolate, we staggered away with my bulging bag of yarn to re-join the crowded market browsers.

Needless to say we both arrived home in New Zealand with lots of great memories, albeit exhausted from the long and tedious overnight flight. Now, if you will please excuse me, I’m off to write an adventure story called ‘Seniors in Seattle.’

      Ok, maybe not

   Cherie Le Clare

Author of historical novels French Kiss and Kiwi Kiss.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doing the Happy Dance

Well - I've done it!! Cue "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands..."  : )

I've just hit the send button on my submission for a Superhero anthology call by Samhain Publishing. It's been three months of late nights, frustration, excitement and nerves. But - it's all worth it. That feeling of accomplishment is the best thing in the world. Oh, okay - the second best. The first is getting an acceptance letter/email for your submission : )

Samhain have said final decisions will be made by 1 October. I will be biting my nails until then!

What have you done recently you're proud/happy/scared of?

Monday, August 15, 2011

True Love Stories

For a shy person, the thought of big, social occasions can be daunting, causing sweaty palms and a racing heart. I considered myself to be one of those, until I realised that for the writer, they are a wonderful way to glean fresh ideas and learn about conversation, body language and human nature. I found the best way to interact with people is to get them to talk about themselves - and lets face it - a lot of us like to do that : )

My favourite question of all to ask is: How did you and (insert partner's name here) meet?
It never fails to amaze me the myriad ways people connect and fall in love. And for a romance writer, this is sheer gold, not to mention fascinating stuff - plus it has the added bonus of potentially making some new friends. Suddenly, the social occasion became something for me to look forward to instead of dread.

My own story is a little like a romance novel: Girl falls in love with big brother's best friend, he ignores her for years. She blossoms into a woman and he finally notices her - but does nothing about it. Girl gets engaged to another even though she still loves brother's friend. He realises he's made the worst mistake in his life and has lost her. Girl has car crash, totals car and our hero declares undying love to her with the thought of really nearly losing her. And as you can see from the picture below - they live happily ever after (most of the time!)  : )  - Oh, and if you're wondering about the jilted fiance, don't worry - he was the toad ; )

I'd love to hear your own stories if you'd like to share them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A new Jewel of the Night story

I was so excited to see a new release in the Jewel of the Night series. Not only is the series close to my heart because this is the home of my own debut novella, but because each and every story I've read so far has been fabulous. I've been taken to countries all over the world, been transported to different eras and the characters in them are all unforgettable from the worst villain imaginable to the most delicious heroes. If you love books to keep you on the edge of your seat, yet thrill you with sensual love scenes and real emotion, I guarantee this series will not let you down.

Lets hear a little about the newest release titled, Blue Ice by Donna Dalton.
Hi Donna, lovely to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself and your latest release.

I’ve been writing for The Wild Rose Press since 2007 when they contracted my full length historical romance, IRISH DESTINY. Since then, I have published two other historicals and several novellas.  When the call came out for the JEWEL OF THE NIGHT series, I was intrigued.  Although historical romance is my first love, I enjoy reading and writing contemporary romantic suspense.
Writing for this series wasn’t difficult at all. The requirements were quite simple; they wanted stories that involved thieves, a blue diamond, and a high level of danger. It didn’t take long for me to hit upon my story idea. I remembered watching a television series called IT TAKES A THIEF, where reformed thieves staged break-ins that were filmed and shown back to the home-owners. I started asking myself “what-if”, and soon had a basic plot formulated.

Although there was a deadline for submitting to the series, the journey to get this story published went smoothly. I set weekly goals and paced myself and soon had the manuscript ready for submission. Not long after, BLUE ICE was contracted.

My favorite part of BLUE ICE is when Addison realizes she’s been pushing away the one thing she needs – Garrett. From the beginning, she fought her attraction for the Texan. Everyone she ever loved had betrayed her. Why would Garrett be any different. Yet, as they work together, she begins to see that he is nothing like all the others. He’s loyal and kind and puts her safety before his own. Loving Garrett is like coming home after a long journey, and she finds she’s ready to open her heart and let him in.

In keeping with my love of romantic suspense and historicals, I am currently working on a story that combines both. It’s set at the end of the American Civil War when emotions are running high after the assassination of President Lincoln. The hero and heroine become embroiled in the search for the killer. It’s an exciting story to write, and I can’t wait to get it finished so readers can enjoy it.

I can be reached through The Wild Rose Press at or on my website at  I’m hosting a contest on my website where the winner will be awarded a $10.00 (ten dollar) gift certificate. Stop by and give me a holler J


Reformed jewel thief Addison Hayes wants to make a fresh start. A new television series featuring rehabilitated thieves staging break-ins seems perfect. The only snag? Her handsome co-host Garrett Powell—his Texas drawl makes her body sing. But seven years behind bars taught her that romance and business don’t mix.

Garrett Powell only signed on for the TV show to satisfy a debt and get his life back on track. Fellow inmate Jimmy Patterson once saved his life and in repayment, Garrett agreed to secretly look out for Jimmy’s protégé, Addison. But Addison’s spunk and intelligence soon have Garrett wishing there could be more between them.

When a rare blue diamond necklace they stole for the show goes missing, Addison and Garrett have to join forces to clear their names. With gun-toting thugs and the law after them, can they find the jewel—and each other—before it’s too late?

Body heat and the spicy scent of aftershave enveloped her. Her pulse revved like an engine on nitro. Garrett Powell. For a geeky security alarm system analyst with a short rap sheet, he was good. Damn good. She hadn’t heard him approach. Hadn’t even heard him while he looted the upstairs bedrooms. Was she getting soft?

She pulled a box off the closet shelf and returned her focus to the task at hand.  “Are you finished upstairs?”

“Yep," he replied. “All set. You?”                       

She lifted the box lid and pushed back the lavender-scented packing paper. Italian leather gloves and silk scarves. Excellent quality. “Only this closet left.” She dumped the contents of the box into her sack. “Did you find anything worth taking?”

“A couple of Louis Vuitton purses and a pair of Manolos. Excellent condition.” His southern accent gave the renowned brand names a comical twist.

She smiled, amused, an emotion she’d been short on lately. “Anything else?”

“Some electronics...two cell phones, a Blackberry, and an iPod. And a nice vintage coin collection.”
The Texan knew his hot commodities. “Jewelry?” she asked.

“Ha. Can’t stop yourself, can you, darlin’?”

She bit down on a curt reply and shoved the box onto the shelf. No need in getting her temper up.
She’d have to get used to such comments if she wanted to work with him in the future. The Texan had discovered her Achilles heel and appeared to enjoy poking at it.

Thanks so much for stopping by Donna! Don't forget to visit Donna's blog for the chance to win a gift voucher - good luck! : ) 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Free Read - The Abduction

Click on the page on my blog "Free Read" to find out what happened to me as a little girl.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Meant to Be

Hello again blogging world!

I thought by now, the story I was writing would be completed, it would have been sent to my editor - and then with any luck, I'd be working hard on edits. Um...actually, it's so far from that - and I couldn't be happier. Let me tell you why.

This story called, "A Klaus to Kill" was originally started in response to a submission call from the Crimson/suspense line of The Wild Rose Press. It was to include someone at some point to dress up as a Christmas character. The tag line for the submission was; "someone's out to kill Christmas". What fun I thought, and started madly scribbling away with the idea that sprang to mind. This was back in late December.

Then I got sick; had a month off writing, and the deadline passed. I carried on regardless thinking I'd send it in anyway for a future Christmas campaign, but suddenly it seemed my words had no flavour, no bite. This marvellous story was disintegrating before my eyes and it didn't matter how hard I tried, it refused to change course from the pile of crap it was destined for. And then - I stumbled upon the reason why.

A new book was released by my publisher, with a terribly familiar plot-line, including the same nickname for the villain! Once I got over my shock at the similarities - I couldn't be happier. I feel relieved at abandoning it and so glad I can stop wading through the muck, or trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Now I know why things weren't going smoothly. I wasn't meant to write this book. In case you're wondering, the new release is called, "In the St. Nick of Time", and is written by a wonderful writer whose skill I admire tremendously - I can't wait to buy it. It'll be interesting to see how close our thoughts were in regards to the actual story and characters.

My current WIP is going full-steam ahead. I'm working towards another deadline of 1 September and can't believe how fast I'm writing it! Mind you - I'm having a ball with this one. Just goes to show - it pays to love what you do : )

Have you ever experienced this before? Did you push through it, or give up happily like me? I'd love to know.
Happy writing everyone!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Wild Rose Reading List

Recently, I've been enjoying the fruits of my fellow The Wild Rose Press author's labour. I enjoy all genres and am willing to give anything new a try. There are so many wonderful reads out there that I thought I'd help you narrow down your TBR list (actually - ít'll probably only lengthen it!) with some of mine.

What I'm reading now:
Beyond a Highland Whisper by Maeve Grayson

What I've read and recommend:
French Kiss by Cherie Le Clare
Kiwi Kiss by Cherie Le Clare
Sweet Sacrifices by Gloria Marlowe
Out of the Darkness by Lilly Gayle
Together Again by Mimi Barbour
Wolf Island by Cher Gorman
Searching for Sophie by Rachel Brimble
Flawless by Jana Richards
The Silkie's Salvation by Laura Browning
Blood Diamond by Riley Quinn
Dazzled by Jennifer Schmidlin

On my TBR list:
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Forever Freed by Laura Kaye
Jezebel's Wish by AJ Nuest
Yesterday's Dreams by Jean Adams

My Wishlist:
Keeps growing!
With all the wonderful authors published by The Wild Rose Press, and the fantastic reviews coming in for them all, my list shows no sign of being pruned. So bring them on I say!

What about you? What have you read by TWRP authors and what do you recommend I add next?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Love Comes in Unexpected Places

As the Nelson Area Coordinator of Greyhounds As Pets and a Romance Writer, I thought what could be more fitting than to post this gorgeous advertisement.

Thank you Saatchi and Saatchi for making such a beautiful ad for these amazing dogs. Lets hope it helps find more wonderful homes for these couch potatoes.

This post also gives me a good excuse to show off my own beautiful retired greyhound, Jazzy : )

Love really does come from unexpected places. I'd never have imagined just how much I would fall in love with my girl. She adds so much to our life as a family, we wouldn't be the same without her.

To find out more about these amazing animals, check out GAP's website, full of great information - but beware - they also have photos of dogs awaiting adoption - you just might fall in love! : )

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Frugal Fortnight

This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with writing, but rather, to do with a fantastic book I've discovered and a website community I belong to called Simple Savings. In these hard economic times, a website like this is invaluable and I wanted to share my recent story when I applied the basic principals of "the rules" in The $21 Challenge book. Although I spent more than $21, it was still a significant savings for us.

My hubby and I had been shocked at how quickly our Visa bill had sky-rocketed, and with him being the sole bread-winner with me at home with the children, we needed to find some money from somewhere, or rein some back in somehow.

I've always shopped on a tight budget for groceries, it's what you do on a single income, but then I wondered if with the help of the book, I might be able to do better. So I set about a quick stock-take of the freezer, pantry and garden and planned a fortnight of meals from there. I was shocked at how easy it was, even without a freezer bursting with meat. We've eaten well, (if a little unconventional at times!) and best of all, I managed to save us $130 for the fortnight!

Here is the list of our meals for your interest.

Breakfast - Toast and cereal
                           Lunch - Meat and coleslaw sandwiches
                           Dinner - Baked Potatoes with Bacon/Cheese sauce and a side of coleslaw
Breakfast - Toast and cereal
Lunch - Leftover dinner from Wednesday
Sandwiches for the children
Dinner - Pancakes
Breakfast - Toast and cereal
Lunch - Baked beans and egg on toast
Dinner - Pumpkin soup and homemade Pizza bread
Breakfast - Toast and cereal
Lunch - Pumpkin soup and cheese toasties
Dinner - Chicken wraps and oven fries (both homemade)
Breakfast - Bacon and Eggs
Lunch - scrambled eggs
Dinner - Thai chicken soup and homemade pizzas
Breakfast - Toast and cereal
Lunch - Soup and toasted Sandwiches
Dinner - Smoked chicken pasta
Breakfast - Toast and cereal
Lunch - Left over pasta
Dinner - Spaghetti Bolognase

SNACKS (home baking): Popcorn, orange loaf, biscuits, cheese crunchies, fruit, chocolate slice

2ND WEEK - much the same with the exceptions below
  Dinner - Shepherds Pie (left-over Bolognese)
Dinner - Fried rice with Chicken
Dinner - Pancakes
Omelets and homemade chips
Sausages, Mashed potato and vegetables

SNACKS - As the week previous

So, there we go. Most of the meat we had in the freezer and the meat which was there, I stretched for two days worth of meals - either for lunch or dinner - and everything else, I made with my baking supplies. The only things I needed to buy was milk, bread, fruit and vegetables.

We ate well, had extra money to pay bills and I loved knowing what I was to cook for dinner that night. It also had the added benefit of reducing the"what am I going to do for dinner?" stress, making for a much more harmonious home! Think we'll be doing this every couple of months!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bernice Taylor - A True Wonderwoman

Everyone thinks their mum is the best, but I really DO have the very best one there is - and I'll tell you why.

For starters - just look at her. She is beautiful isn't she? : ) But her beauty is not just on the outside. Mum is the kind of person others are drawn to instantly. As my brothers and I were growing up, our house was the communal meeting house for all the kids. With four children plus their friends, you can imagine the noise - and mess that goes hand-in-hand with
that many bodies lounging around.

But mess has never bothered my Mum. She'd much rather have a messy home filled with laughter, than a quiet house with the occupants too afraid to move anything out of place, or, God forbid, leave crumbs behind on pristine surfaces! Being only 17 years older than my oldest brother and his friends, it wasn't unusual to find her lending an ear to teenage angst from both the guys and girls. I'm sure she has saved many from going down that dark path of no return, just by being there and listening in that non-judgemental way she has.

My parents also have one of the strongest marriages I know of and is one us kids aspire to for our own. I credit each of our relationship's surviving the tough times by my parent's example of how married life should be. Married for 37 years now, they've been together since their teens and have weathered the storm of life, even with huge odds thrown at them from time to time. Although not always a bed of roses, they'v
e shown us that love really does conquer all and as long as you stay best friends and hold on to each other when things are hard, you will come through it intact and stronger than ever.

Speaking of best friends, my Mum is mine and I'm so proud and lucky to call her that. She has been there to mop up my tears when I was bullied at school, cuddled me and listened during a painful breakup with the boy I loved (who later became my husband after seeing the error of his ways!) and most recently, flew down to be with me while I was so sick and
having to make the most awful decision of my life because of it. Although I had my husband there
also, there is nothing like having your Mum to hold and comfort you when things are bad. She cried with me and held my hand throughout and I am forever grateful to have had her by my side. Not once did she waver from being the rock I needed. She has all the time in the world for me and my family, even while running a very successful, award-winning Motel which is a 24 hour operation.

So - that is my Mum in a nut-shell. But of course, she is so much more than that, but mere words can't describe what an amazing person she is. When I grow up, I want to be just like my Mum and I hope I can be the Mum to my own children that mine is to me. That is quite something to live up to!

Thank you for everything and Happy Mother's day!
Love you Mum, xxxx

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Radio Debut - yikes!!

At this moment in time, I'm thinking - Why? You crazy woman, you!

I'm guesting on Edin Road Radio, reading an excerpt from my book Guardian of the Jewel, then chatting with the wonderful host, Jesse.

Should be fun right? Yep - but unfortunately, I'm blessed (being sarcastic here) with a high voice, and when I get nervous, it tends to get even higher! Oh well, who knows, someone at Disney may hear me and decide to offer me a job as Minnie Mouse in future movies! : )

I'm sure, come tomorrow 11.30am (American time Wednesday 5th, 6.30pm) I'll be on a high and thrilled about it all, but at the moment I'm feeling a little sick. If you do listen, I'd love to know what you thought. I think it's a great initiative for writers and Edin Road radio deserve all the support we can give them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lucky Me!


Look what I won from a giveaway on Facebook

Thank you so much you lovely ladies : )
(Now - where else can I show it off!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Do Romance Writers Look Like?

Rowrrr!! What a bunch of gorgeous girlies : )
Nelson Branch of Romance Writers of NZ
L-R Sally Ash, Cherie Le Clare, LaVerne Clark, Annika Ohlson-Smith

This was meant to be used for an article our group starred in for a very beautiful, glossy Nelson magazine called Wild Tomato, with the caption being Romancing the Stones but they went for something a little more homely in the end. Shame. I think it's a pretty cool photo and probably suits us - we're all a little bit quirky!

What does a Romance Writer look like? Are they glamorous women dressed up to the nines on the off-chance a handsome hero will come and sweep them off their feet? Or are they greasy-haired women sitting around in house-coats, dark circles under eyes fixed on a computer screen with mind's a world away from the one they're actually inhabiting? I don't know about you, but I tend to agree with the latter unfortunately, which makes dressing up for the photo-shoot above a whole lot of fun. Doesn't matter that it was freezing cold and our walk to that spot was ridiculously dangerous in high heels and my daughter was crying the whole time just out of shot. We looked GREAT, we had a lot of giggles and we escaped the everyday routine to act as supermodels for a while. What fun!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Giveaway - Come visit me!

Come visit me at Terry Odell's blog where I'm guesting, talking about my journey and writing for the American market.

Leave a comment to be in to win a PDF copy of Guardian of the Jewel!

The winner will be announced on Saturday on Terry's blog

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back again!

It's been a while since my last blogpost...sounds like the start of a confession : )
The last month has been both good and bad. I'll start with the bad to get it out of the way. I missed the deadline for Red Christmas - a Santa story for the Crimson Line of TWRP. Its the first time I've ever missed a deadline. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and a whole month went by when I was unable to write a line. Now to the good : ) Things are getting back onto an even keel and I'm loving every minute of my writing time again. Its so easy to feel that way when you get such great feedback like my latest review for Guardian of the Jewel. If you want to have a look, here is the link;

I'm revving up for a busy few weeks of promo too. Tomorrow I'll be featured on the author spotlight of Tory Richard's blog Sex Between the Covers. Here is the link:

This is a great initiative by a wonderful author to show off our beautiful covers and stories in a short and snappy way.

I'm giving away an e-copy of Guardian of the Jewel during The Romance Reviews Grand Opening. Look out for the incredibly easy question, answer correctly, and be in to win on 29 March.

Next month I'll be doing a blog post on Terry Odell's blog. I've always admired Terry's posts and the quality of her guest's blogs as well. It has been a mine of information and if you've never visited her before, I encourage you to check it out!

It's nice to be back in the swing of things again and I look forward to seeing you all out and about in cyberspace! : )

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Flawless Jewel of a Story

I had the utmost pleasure to be a preliminary reader for Flawless - just before I was offered a contract for Guardian of the Jewel. I loved it and knew if all the stories were of this high calibre for the Jewel of the Night series, we were all in for a treat! I'll sit back now and let Jana tell you more about her wonderful story, secure in the knowledge you'll love it just as much as I did.

How long did you give yourself to write “Flawless”?
I wanted to give myself a good six months to write the story. But when I first saw the call go out for submissions to the series back in October 2009, I couldn’t think of a thing to write about. I did a little research on blue diamonds, but no inspiration lightning bolts hit me. By Christmas I had pretty much resigned myself to the thought that I would not be submitting a story to “Jewels of the Night”.

Then over the Christmas holidays my husband and I were watching a TV show about World War II. I’ve always found WWII a fascinating period in history. We started throwing around ideas and finally inspiration struck! The germ of the idea was born.

After consulting with some friends on the plot at the beginning of January, I took time off work to participate in my writing group’s “Book in a Week” and I wrote the majority of the first draft. After some critiques and revisions, I submitted the story to TWRP, just before the March 31, 2010 deadline. This was probably the fastest story I’ve ever written, from idea to first draft!

What was it like writing for a series?
It was great. The parameters for this series were wide open, so as long as the story featured a blue diamond and it was a romantic suspense, I was good to go! Any time period could be used, and there were no continuing characters, landmarks, or other conventions that needed to be used from book to book. So I was pretty much able to write the story I wanted to write, no holds barred.

How smooth was the publishing journey and was it different to others because of the tighter deadline?
I don’t want to give the impression that this journey was without its bumps. The initial writing went quickly, but I had to complete two major rewrites before “Flawless” was accepted for publication. And then after that there was still plenty of revision to do. My wonderful editor Nan Swanson from the Vintage Rose line of TWRP certainly made me work for it! But I think her suggestions were exactly what the book needed.

As far as the tighter deadline, I think it helped me. When I have a deadline it really motivates me to work hard to be finished in time.

Favourite part of the book/favourite character? Why?
I love my heroine Madeleine. Her bravery awes me. If I had lived in her time, in France under Nazi occupation, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to join the Resistance and essentially act as a spy, right under German noses. It’s hard to believe how many women were just like Madeleine during WWII.

My favorite part of the book? That’s like asking me which of my children I love more! But I have to admit that one of my favorite parts is when Hunter arrives at the Chateau to begin work as gardener. He arrives just in time to rescue Madeleine from being raped by the Nazi General Klaus Dietrich. He tells Dietrich that he and Madeleine are married. Furthermore, he drops the little bombshell that Madeleine is pregnant! This comes as rather a surprise to Madeleine, but she gamely plays her part. But now that Hunter has made this announcement, they are forced to live together as husband and wife. And that’s how their love story begins.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Just that I’m very pleased to be part of this series, and happy to be a Wild Rose Press author. They are a great group to work for. And thank you very much, LaVerne, for having me guest on your blog today.

France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.
Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.

“From now on you will be known as Jacques Lemay, Monsieur Smith.”
Monsieur Gagnon filled his pipe, dropping bits of tobacco onto his wife’s immaculate floor. Madeleine sat off to one side of Monsieur Gagnon’s kitchen, watching as Madame Gagnon prepared breakfast for her husband and their “guest.” Madeleine silently seethed as Smith—non, Lemay—helped himself to another piece of bread. Did he have to eat so much? Didn’t he know that food was scarce here in Lille, just as it was all over France?
She listened as Smith handed over the new two-way radio to Monsieur Gagnon and explained its use.
“It’s supposed to have a clearer and stronger signal than the radio you’re using now,” Smith said. He flipped a few dials to illustrate. “They also told me it is easier to scramble the signal to avoid detection.”
“Bon.” Monsieur Gagnon beamed in pleasure. “Good communications are essential to our work. Thank you for bringing it.”
“No problem. What else can you tell me about my cover here?”
“You are to work as a junior gardener at the chateau. I wrote to the head gardener, as if I was you, inquiring about work. He’s desperate for help. The Germans have rounded up many young Frenchmen and shipped them east to work in factories in Germany, so there are few able-bodied men available. You start tomorrow.”
He paused as his wife set a bowl of porridge in front of him. Monsieur Gagnon could not be connected with Jacques Lemay in any way; their comings and goings to this house had to be done with the utmost discretion. Madeleine knew the importance of keeping Monsieur Gagnon and his wife safe. He was the heart of their operation, their connection to the outside world through the radio he operated. If something went wrong and Hunter Smith was captured, it was crucial that no trails led back to Monsieur Gagnon. The safety of their réseaux, their Resistance network, depended on it. She hoped Smith understood the danger.
“I said in the letter that you had not worked as a gardener before, so he is not expecting you to know the difference between a delphinium and a dianthus.” Monsieur Gagnon poured milk onto his porridge. “But he is expecting you to work hard. If you don’t, you could be fired, or your cover could be blown.”
“I can manage.”
“The job might require a little more than sticking a shovel in the ground occasionally and spreading a bit of manure,” Madeleine said. The others turned to stare at her.
She immediately regretted her sarcastic remark, regretted throwing his words in his face. She shouldn’t let this man get to her, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. They needed to work together for the sake of the mission. But she hated him. After what he’d done to Jean Philippe…
Hunter’s gaze locked with hers, and the heat of his anger scorched her clear across the room. She refused to back down from the challenge in his stare. She’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.
“Madeleine, enough.” Monsieur Gagnon spoke sharply. “Regardless of your feelings, we need him. He is our only hope for getting the diamond out of the hands of the Nazis.”
He was right. If they couldn’t steal Le Coeur Bleu, Jean Philippe would have died for nothing. She couldn’t let that happen.
She inhaled deeply and looked away. “All right. We’ll work together.”


Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.
Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On the Trail of Another Hot Read

The winner of Kat Duncan's Fifty-Eight Faces was Sarah Grimm. Congrats Sarah and happy reading! Thanks for commenting : )

Yummy! What a great cover don't you think??

Today on Novel Natterings, we have Gwen Roman here talking about her debut romance, "Trail of the Tudor Blue"
Sounds like another great read from the Jewel of the Night series!

Everyone deserves a happily ever after...
For straight-and-narrow art restorer Ardis Bellamy, a trip to the South of France to reclaim a historic blue diamond necklace should have been only mildly nervewracking. Understatement. In order to succeed, she's going to have to learn whom she can and can't trust, give the thugs who are chasing her the slip, and decide whether her growing relationship with sexy "recovery agent" James Tate is worth risking everything for -- or whether he's been double-crossing her all along.

He half-grinned, cocky and endearing.

And between the charm of his grin, the shift of his muscle, and the blue of his eyes, all manner of improper things rolled through my imagination. I needed to get away before the temptation overwhelmed me.

I shifted my hand to his chest and pushed. “Let go of me,” I said. But he stood fast against me, and he didn’t miss a beat in the music.

“Quit it,” he said. “Try a little common sense for a minute, huh? If I had any ill feelings I would have left you to Ahnshen’s wicked ways. And if I wanted to hurt you, you never would have left the Babette. Relax. Dance with me.”

I couldn’t have relaxed if I tried. There were too many unknowns, too many questions knocking around my brain. “What do you want?”

He huffed. “Christ, you’re redundant.”

“Why are you following me?”

“I would have thought that was obvious.”

I became again aware of the heat of his body, of the enticing scent of him. The beat of the music coursed through my veins and set my body in motion in time with his. A thrill I hadn’t experienced in far too long filled me, but I was in the wrong time and place to lose myself in its rush.

Gathering my wits, I leaned back to look Tate in the eye. “Tell me,” I said.

He smiled, slow and soft, and his eyes, though warm, lacked mirth. “I’m looking for Marco.”

I raised one eyebrow at him—not on purpose. The one eyebrow action was a twitch, a failure to raise two rather than a skill. “Join the club.”

longer excerpt available at:

Buy links:

Phew! Great excerpt and I love the sound of Tate - mmm, mmm!
What was it like writing for a series? Where did you come up with the idea for the plot?
My experience I’m sure was a little different than most of the other Jewel of the Night authors’. At the time I saw the submission call, I was fortunate to already have a romance manuscript featuring a blue diamond! The story had seeded in my mind during a visit to my local library. I can’t even remember what I was researching at the time, but I looked up from my table and a book on gems and jewels caught my eye and seemed like the perfect break from what I was doing. Flipping through the book, I came upon the photo of an historic necklace that stopped me cold. The piece is called The Spanish Inquisition:

That was the inspiration for the necklace Ardis and Tate are after TRAIL OF THE TUDOR BLUE – only with blue diamonds as opposed to emeralds. The necklace took firm hold of my imagination, and didn’t let go until I’d written “the end.”

How long did you give yourself to write it?
Since the manuscript was already written, the writing wasn’t the problem. Editing it down to work count – and getting rid of a lot of pointless or repetitious scenes – became the challenge. I gave myself three weeks to edit, and then begged some friends to read the revised version as quickly as possible. While they were reading, I queried Wild Rose Press with the project and had made adjustments per reader feedback before Wild Rose requested the full.

How smooth was the publishing journey and was it different to others because of the tighter deadline?
With TUDOR BLUE being my debut romance, the only publishing journey comparison I can make relates more to my day job (scientific and technical journals publishing). We often have 24-hours to turn around an article and get it published online. So for me, I had zero sense of a tight deadline. The biggest adjustment, though, was dealing with a production schedule that had some flexibility built in – huge culture shock for me!

Favourite part of the book? Why?
Oooh. That’s a tough one! There are so many moments in the book that I adore (am I allowed to adore my own story? Hmmm…) Absolutely! : ) I adore the moment Ardis goes through Tate’s traveling bag. I adore the bit where they’re walking along the streets of Marseilles. I adore their first kiss. Probably, though, my favorite scene is with Ardis and Tate sitting side-by-side on the back of the Babette, his hand on her thigh, and the necklace on the table in front of them. It’s the point where they come together for a united purpose and the glimmer that maybe, just maybe, these two very different people could find a future together. Ahhh, I guess I’m a romantic at heart, huh?

But that brings up an interesting question for the blog readers here. What are some of your favorite moments in romance novels or movies? At what point do you know the hero and heroine are destined for one another despite the odds?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome a New Face to TWRP!

The Wild Rose Press have done it again! They've unearthed another wonderful writer and helped her along the road to publication. I can't wait to dive into the pages of Kat's Fifty-eight Faces and indulge.

Kat has kindly offered a copy of her debut novella to one lucky commenter. Make sure you're in to win, but in the meantime, lets learn a little more about this latest Jewel of a story.

How long did you give yourself to write it?
I found out about the call for submissions in November 2009. Since the deadline was the following March, I gave myself until the middle of January to write it and another few weeks to edit and polish. I saw it as a challenge to be able to pretend I was writing on deadline to see if I could measure up against published authors with real deadlines. Funny that this self-imposed exercise led to my debut publication!

What was it like writing for a series? Where did you come up with the idea for the plot?
The series guidelines were pretty clear and none of the other books in the series had been released yet, so I was on my own for ideas without knowing how similar I'd be to others who answered the call. The idea for the plot came from a long drive in the car with my RWA chapter mates. There were four of us in the car and we all bounced ideas around, each coming up with scenarios and characters that fit them.

How smooth was the publishing journey and was it different to others because of the tighter deadline?
The publishing journey was pretty smooth. I submitted the manuscript and promptly forgot about it and went back to work on other projects. I was surprised to get an email from an editor asking for edits. I immediately dove into the edits and reviewed them with my critique partner. My editor, Anne Seymour, was good about establishing deadlines and great with suggestions and ideas. I didn't find it difficult to meet the deadlines at all and I must credit Anne with really making the story shine.

Favourite part of the book/favourite character? Why?
My favourite part of the book is the motel scene where Evan and Caroline have to come to terms with their new relationship as partners, and come up with a plan to defeat the villain. I like this scene because they are each able to give in a little and let the other person into their private world. It could have been a very long drawn-out tense scene something like group therapy, but I interjected a bit of humour that fit their independent personalities.

Anything else you'd like to add : )
It's an honor to be a small part of such a fantastic group of authors. I hope my fellow Jewel of the Night Series authors had as much fun as I did in writing these wonderful stories. I'd like to celebrate my debut release by giving a copy of Fifty-eight Faces to one commenter. And I'd like to invite readers and writers alike to visit me on the web:

Twitter: @write_about

Buy Link:

Jewel of the Night Series
Chief of surgery at a small children's hospital, Caroline's last hope to save it from financial ruin evaporates when she loses the Blue Diamond case to greedy Evan Quinn. When Evan buys the hospital property for high profit condo conversion, Caroline's hatred shifts into full red-alert.
But Evan is not her real enemy. Rolf, the hospital's chief administrator, has had his eye on the blue diamond since he learned of it from his Nazi grandfather. To be the 58th face to possess the Blue Diamond, one for each of its facets, grants the owner unlimited power. Rolf plans to kill the current owners and use the diamond to build his Neo-Nazi regime. Can Caroline give up her hatred and Evan his greed before Rolf kills them both?

"If I wasn’t sworn as a doctor,I’d pull this trigger.”
A flash lit the darkness. An ear-shattering echo reverberated in the concrete vault. Evan staggered. Caroline dropped the gun, and its over-sensitized trigger fired again. It spun like a top on the concrete. She rushed forward.
“Evan. Evan. Are you hurt? Where? I didn’t pull the trigger. It just went off in my hand.” She grabbed his shoulders, bracing him, scanning him for a wound.
He steadied himself and pushed her aside. “You missed.” He stared at the gun lying on the floor. He picked it up and hefted it, his brows pinched in thought. Pointing it away from her, he firmly grasped the weapon and gently tapped its side. It fired.
He turned on her, his mouth thinned into a grimace, his eyes squinting.
She put up her hands. “Evan, don’t…”
He tipped the gun toward the ceiling and, with a snap, removed the clip. He tossed the pieces in opposite directions. They spun and clattered on the concrete floor. In a few quick steps, he closed the distance between them. His broad hands engulfed her shoulders, infusing her shivering body with a surge of solid warmth.
“That gun was rigged by an expert. An expert who arranged for us to meet here. Then disappeared.”