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, November 15, 2012

OH, THAT MAN - Vonnie Davis

I am super excited today to be hosting one of my VERY favourite authors and people, Vonnie Davis.
I first came to know this lovely and very funny lady through our shared publisher, The Wild Rose Press. And then I read her first book, Storm's Interlude, and I fell in love, with Storm, Rachel, and Vonnie herself. I adore her work and know you will too. Trust me, pick up one of her books if you haven't already - you're in for a treat!
But I'll sit back now and let her cast her spell over you as well as she talks about meeting the hero of her latest book, Niko for the first time. Enjoy :)
LaVerne, I’m so excited to be here. Hugs to you for inviting me.
If you’re not a writer, you don’t understand how a character can grab you by the throat and control your life while you write his/her story. Whenever I speak of it to non-writers, they take a step back, their eyes darting back and forth for the nearest exit. I’ve learned to temper my remarks. But since you’re here, you’re either a writer or an avid reader interested in how writers think. So let me share one of my experiences with my hero in Mona Lisa’s Room, a romantic suspense set in Paris.
I had just drifted off to sleep one night when someone slammed our bedroom door. I sat straight up in the bed. What…what was that? I glanced at Calvin. He was snoring away. I must have been dreaming. I snuggled against Calvin and drifted off. Once more the door slammed. Only this time, I saw who did it—Niko, my hero, my French government agent.
I leaned up on my elbows, none too happy with his waking me again. “What? What do you want?”
“Watch.” His commanding tone of voice left no room for argument. We’d had similar late-night artistic confrontations before. I knew if I didn’t acquiesce to his demands, he’d just keep waking me.
So I watched Niko as he stormed back a hallway, his fists clenched. He opened the door to an interrogation room. Alyson, my heroine, was blindfolded and tied to a chair. He charged in the room and slammed the door. Her head snapped in the direction of the noise. Poof! The vision/dream/insight was over.
“That’s it?”
“That’s all you’re showing me? Why are you so mad? Why is Alyson tied up? Wait, you woke me for that piddling little bit? I need more. Give me more.”
Calvin rolled over. “You want more, baby?”
Oh, for heaven’s sake!!!
It took me four chapters of set-up to get to that door slamming scene. I was not happy with my demanding hero.
Alyson, or Aly as Niko calls her, has been missing all day. He’s been frantically looking for her. Meanwhile she’s been arrested for solicitation due to a misunderstanding and her lousy French.
After Niko saw Marie-Clare placed safely into the hands of a female officer, he turned his attention to Aly. If she’d kept those fantastic legs of hers at the safe house where she belonged, none of this would have happened. He wouldn’t have gone though his own private hell. Josette, innocent soul that she was, might still be alive. Marie-Clare wouldn’t be mourning the loss of her friend.
Aly needed to be taught a lesson, and he planned on being the teacher from hell.
Niko opened the door to the interrogation room and stilled.
Aly’s head turned in the direction of the noise, a blindfold over her beautiful blue eyes.
His gaze swept over her and he willed himself to calm down.
She was safe.
She was unharmed.
In fact, the woman he worried over for the majority of the day was not only unscathed, she’d had her hair and nails done. His temper started to rise as he stared. Her hair was shorter now. A head-turning red. Large golden hoops drew attention to her pretty face, as if she needed any help. Clear fingernail polish had been replaced with dark red.
His back molars ground together. He thought of grabbing and shaking her. Damned if while he was slowly going insane with worry, she went shopping. He packed her clothes for her. If there’d been a skintight dress like the one hugging her very appealing curves, he would have remembered. The dress showed more cleavage than he liked for her to display to the world and rode too high on her thighs, exposing the bottom of the butterfly wings of her tattoo. The damn dress was little more than a naval napkin. What possessed her to buy such a thing?
While fear gnawed on his gut all afternoon, she was having a girl’s day out, visiting a beauty salon and shopping. He should shake the daylights out of her. His gaze dropped to her shoes and his tongue nearly rolled out onto the floor. Good Lord! His fingers itched to forge a trail over those legs. The woman was messing with his mind and his libido, making him weak with lust.
Just to startle her, he strode into the room and slammed the door behind him. He took pleasure in seeing her jump. Because he was so damned mad, he walked to the opposite side of the table from where she sat and frowned at her. If he got any closer, he would put his hands around her slender throat. Twenty four hours. He had only known this woman for twenty-four hours, and she had him tied into knots.
“Who…who’s there?” Her head turned slightly from side to side as if hoping to hone in on his presence.
If he spoke, she might recognize his voice. No, he would not speak just yet. Slowly, he walked the perimeter of the room, his gaze locked on her. How could a soft woman contain so much strength? How was he to protect himself from her and her sweet allure?
He made two slow trips around the perimeter of the room, his anger growing with each step. Had she no clue what she did to him? How scared she made him when she walked out of his life? Before he realized his intent, he banged his fist on the top of the table. She jumped. “What in God’s name were you thinking?” he yelled in French.
You won't believe this email. I'm sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He's wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I'm in big trouble, little sister. He's kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I'm feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.
When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I'd foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I've met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.
Don't worry. I'm safe--the jury's still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!
View the Book Trailer:
THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) --
THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) --
AMAZON (paperback) --

Thank you, Vonnie. That was so much fun - and special thanks for the yummy visual of Niko! ;) 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blog Hop Winners!

Wheeeee!! That was so much fun! Thank you to everyone visiting during the hop. I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween.

We have TWO winners.
Congratulations go to:
Shirley Wine
Mackenzie Crowne
I will be getting in touch with both of you ladies shortly. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Super Book Blast - Maggie Jaimeson

Welcome to another awesome Book Blast Tour. I love hearing about these great new books, don't you?! Get a gander at Maggie Jaimeson's second book in her Sweetwater Canyon series. Sounds like a great read doesn't it?! And just look at that cover...beautiful...

Maggie is also giving away goodies on this tour. Check it out:

One autographed cover flat will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, Maggie will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host. Good luck!
You must leave an email address to be entered into any of the drawings.

To add to your chances of winning, visit some of the other stops which you will find here:

Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.  

Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.  

A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.  

First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted. 



Claire crawled onto a stool on the other side of the island and smiled.  Neither of them talked for several minutes as they listened to the water in the pot heat.

“When I grow up, I’m going to play with Sweetwater Canyon all the time.”

“Are you sure you want to hang out with all us old folks?”

“You’re not all old. Well maybe a little old. But Kat isn’t old.”

Rachel smiled. “That’s true. She’s only seventeen.” And going on twenty-five it seemed sometimes.

“Oh, seventeen? That is old.” Claire put a finger to her lips and furrowed her brow. “How old do I have to be to play in the band all the time?”

“Probably at least eighteen.”

“But, you just said Kat—”

“Kat is different, because her mother plays in the band and can watch her all the time.”

“Well, you can watch me all the time. You can be my mother.”

Rachel gulped.

“Well, can’t you?”

“Can’t she what?” Noel walked in the room and lifted Claire off the chair in a big hug, swinging her around the room. “Can’t she what? She can do anything she wants.”

“See,” Claire leaned forward and looked at Rachel over Noel’s shoulder. “See, even Daddy thinks you can be my mother.”

“Whoa.” Noel set Claire back on the stool. “I’m not sure what I walked in on here.” He sent an accusing glance to Rachel. “You already have a mother, Claire.”

“I know. Not my real mother. My second mother. You know, like my friend, Megan. Her mommy and daddy got divorced and her daddy married a new mommy. So, Megan has two mommies now.  See?  Rachel can be my second mommy. Okay?”

The cool signed cover flat ONE lucky commenter from Novel Natterings will win!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.

HEALING NOTES is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books.  The final two books will be available in 2013.


Twitter: @maggiejaimeson
Don't forget to leave a comment for Maggie to be in the draw to win those great prizes!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hoppy Hallowen

Welcome to my stop on the Howloween Blog Hop AND A Haunted Garden Halloween Hop. Yep – that’s right. TWO stops rolled into one. I’m a true multi-tasker! J Actually, it’s because I’m a terrible multi-tasker and rather forgetful at times that I forgot I’d signed up for two!)

Just let me know when you comment which hop you’re on, along with your contact email – because I’m giving away one prize to a lucky commenter for each stop! (Just quietly, there’s nothing to stop you from writing TWO comments to double your chances)

The prize is a choice between a PDF copy of either Guardian of the Jewel OR Affinity.

I thought about regaling you with a story or two of my own scary experiences with the spooky kind in honour of Halloween, but then thought you might think me kookier than ever J So, instead, I decided to send you on a quick ghost tour of my country instead.

I came across this gem of a list written by Kirsty Johnson from the website who has kindly allowed me to reproduce her awesome list. Enjoy – and have a Spooktacular Halloween J

Top 10 Ghostly spots

1. Kingseat psychiatric hospital, Karaka.
Kingseat is a former psychiatric hospital where many patients claim they experienced maltreatment, and a number of patients died during their time there. Its reputation for hauntings spread so far and wide it is now run as a "haunted house" tourist venture by a company named Spookers.

2. Racecourse Hotel, Riccarton.
The ghost of former licensee Donald Fraser is said to walk the corridors of the hotel looking for his killer.
According to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, in 1933 Fraser was killed in the middle of the night in his bedroom, where his wife was asleep, by two blasts from a double-barrelled shotgun.
The movements and circumstances of everyone in the house at the time, and of guests at a party held in the hotel earlier in the evening, were checked and rechecked but no one was ever found guilty of the murder.

3. Larnach Castle, Dunedin.
New Zealand's only castle is reportedly haunted by several spirits including the William Larnach himself and one of his vengeful wives.
Larnach shot himself in the head in 1898 after learning of an affair between his young third wife and one of his sons from his first marriage.
Both the first and second Mrs Larnach’s, who were half-sisters, died in the castle at age 38.
Larnach's daughter Katie is said to haunt the ballroom, built to celebrate her 21st birthday in 1886. She died just a few years later from typhoid.
4. Waitomo Caves Hotel, King Country.
This is New Zealand's most haunted hotel.
Bathtubs reportedly drip blood, orbs bounce around the driveway and a Maori princess is reputed to stalk the corridors, according to
The website says some people have experienced the dining room going cold, laughter, the feeling of 'something' walking through them and even the noise of a maid's trolley going along the long stretch of hall in the lower part of the hotel.

5. The Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans.
The Vulcan is haunted by the ghost of a murdered prostitute named 'The Rose'.
A review of the hotel from Suite 101 says the tale begins when, one evening in the early 1880s, The Rose invited the wrong customer back to her room.
Her body was found the next morning on the bed where she made her living. Her killer was never caught. She now haunts the room where she was killed, targeting male guests with her nasty nocturnal visits.

6. The Abel Tasman coast.
This legend dates back to the late 1820s when Maori chief Te Rauparaha and his allies sacked the Waimea pa in Appleby, and found the hiding place of the magnificent waka Te Awatea.
A Nelson Evening Mail article says a phantom Maori canoe, with a warrior crew chanting, can be seen in the area on still nights.
Sightings of the canoe are often accompanied by the sound of wailing women, representing the laments of the Ngati Apa people as their beloved waka was paddled away.
7. Waimate Hospital, Waimate.
Waimate Hospital is closed, but a tortured spirit dwells within.
It is the Grey Lady, and she is restless. The Christchurch Press wrote about the haunted hospital in 1996, saying locked doors were found open, the sound of breaking glass was reported but nothing found, and ambulance officers had told of disturbing encounters with a spirit.
Former nurses believe the Grey Lady is the spirit of a former woman patient, who died at the hospital, seeking company in an afterlife.

8. St. James Theatre, Wellington.
There are numerous ghosts reported to haunt this theatre.
According to, one of the more regular sightings is the ghost of Yuri, a Russian performer who supposedly fell to his death from above the stage.
Yuri has been encountered playing with the lights, in particular switching them all back on again once the theatre has been locked up for the night.
There is also the 'Wailing Woman', a frequent apparition who is said to wail and moan about, and a boy's choir who is said to haunt the theatre.

9. The Masonic Hotel, Napier.
The Masonic was built in the 1860s, and then rebuilt after a fire in the 1890s and again after the 1931 earthquake.
In the hotel rooms there have been several natural deaths as well as suicides - and a chef once died in the hotel's bath. Witnesses report music that comes on by itself, lights that turn on without being touched, and apparitions that appear in the night.
10. Spirits Bay, Far North.
Perhaps New Zealand's most famous spot for supernatural beings, Spirits Bay is believed to be a jump-off point for spirits leaving this world.
According to Maori legend, during the night hours, groups of spirits and individuals can be seen moving down the beach to a certain point and then disappearing. These spirits are very focused on reaching a particular part of the beach and will not be distracted from their goal.
Thanks so much for coming by this stop in the blog hop. I hope you had fun! Don't forget to comment for your chance to win an e-book - and make sure you stop by these blogs for another chance to win some more great prizes:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nelson Romance Writers Competition - RESULTS



Lynne M Kokshoorn in Greymouth for her story Come back to me.
Judge Sue MacKay’s comment: I loved this story – all that emotion – you really touched me. I kept wondering will Remi come home? Won’t he? That’s awesome writing.


Donna Capil in Stoke (Nelson) for her story Molly’s Crush.

Judge Sue MacKay’s comment: I loved this story. It is so real, so emotive.

Liz Elson in Wellington for her story The Way Home.

Judge Sue MacKay’s comment: I enjoyed this story. It depicts well the quandaries of people, whose families have left home, and are now left facing their own time to do something for themselves.


The prize-winning entries are available here to read under the Tab: Competition Winning Stories. Check them out!

Also in the Top 10 that was sent to the final judging by Sue MacKay were (in alphabetical order):

Andrew M. Underwood’s Flap Jack

Andrew M. Underwood’s Aquarius

Andrew M. Underwood’s At A Dentist’s Waiting Room

Emily Fredrickson’s New Beginnings

Jo McNabb’s Roses

Jon Harrey’s A Southern Harvest

Virginia Suckling’s The Rendezvous

Well done everyone and heartfelt congratulations to you all!

Also a warm thank you to our judge Sue Mackay for a great job!

Lynne and her awesome basket of goodies!

The 1st prize basket included:

A full year’s membership in Romance Writers New Zealand (RWNZ), donated by the RWNZ Nelson Chapter
Three hardback Mills & Boon Medical Romance novels, written and kindly donated by Sue MacKay
A bottle of red wine, kindly donated by Te Mania Wines, Richmond
A box of natural skin care products, kindly donated by Carol Priest
Some chocolate skin care products, kindly donated by The Body Shop, Nelson
Some Avon skin care products, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Karen Mead
A heart shaped pendant, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Annika Ohlson-Smith
A bag printed with the cover of the Romance novel Affinity, written and kindly donated by
Nelson Romance Writer LaVerne Clark
Heart shaped ginger cookies, baked and kindly donated by The Swedish Bakery, Nelson
A sprinkle of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, donated by the RWNZ Nelson Chapter

Donna and her goodies!

The 2nd prize basket included:

A bottle of white wine, kindly donated by Te Mania Wines, Richmond
A bag of natural skin care products, kindly donated by Carol Priest
Some chocolate skin care products, kindly donated by The Body Shop, Nelson
Some Avon skin care products, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Karen Mead
A Thriller novel and a Romance novel, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Judy Tregurtha
Heart shaped ginger cookies, baked and kindly donated by The Swedish Bakery, Nelson
A sprinkle of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, donated by the RWNZ Nelson Chapter

Liz and her goodies!
The 3rd prize basket included:

A bag of natural skin care products, kindly donated by Carol Priest
Some chocolate skin care products, kindly donated by The Body Shop, Nelson
Some Avon skin care products, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Karen Mead
A Romance novel, kindly donated by Nelson Romance Writer Judy Tregurtha
Heart shaped ginger cookies, baked and kindly donated by The Swedish Bakery, Nelson
A sprinkle of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, donated by the RWNZ Nelson Chapter

All three baskets were kindly wrapped and beautifully decorated by Creative Occasions/The Party Shop, Nelson.


Also a big thank you to the papers and other media all over the country for advertising our competition.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Real-life Heroine

Today, I'm honoured to have sister rose, Mackenzie Crowne, visiting us at Novel Natterings. Not only is Mac an extremely talented author (not that we expect anything less from a Wild Rose Press Author) :) but she is also a funny, intelligent and inspiring lady who has battled that awful disease, cancer, come out the other side victorious AND kept her sense of humour intact...and then some! But I don't need to be telling you this. I'll let you learn more about her through her own words. Enjoy...

Welcome Mac. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hmm, let's see. I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious boys who we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the ‘Testosterone Ranch’ more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s Leave It To Beaver. I’m one of eight kids, raised just north of Boston. My childhood was a free-for-all, surrounded by hordes of family and friends and I’m happy to report, that continues to be true today. I moved to Phoenix as an adult because living in the southwest feeds my soul.
My love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. As of today, I am a five-year survivor, living my dream.
What inspired you to write this book and how did you find the strength to write it?
That's a complicated question as I found my inspiration evolving, depending where I was in my battle. And strength? LOL Actually, it was more like desperation. Much of the book comes directly from the journal I kept as I was going through treatments. As you can imagine, I was completely freaked out at the beginning. My dad had passed away several years earlier and I needed his voice of reason and love so desperately, I sat down and wrote a letter to him while waiting to hear my diagnosis. The format was so calming and enlightening, I continued the exercise from that point on. To tell the truth, I never intended to publish my writings, but when all was said and done, Dad and I had produced a road map to emotional survival. How could I not share that with others who are just beginning their frightening battle? 
Ahh...that is a beautiful image. How wonderful to have had such a man in your life to influence you like that. What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Since I never intended anyone to see it, the writing itself wasn't a challenge. I was free to pour out my fears and weaknesses along with all the goofy stuff I experienced. What proved difficult was seeing those weaknesses in black and white. I'll tell you, I didn't like a lot of what I read in my journal, like my complete absorption with "my cancer". The woman I'd become in those early days was a dark and depressing stranger, one I would avoid if I wasn't currently living in her skin. Disgusted, I made a conscious effort to find me again, and it wasn't long before I'd left that dark Mac behind.
The cover art for Where Would You Like Your Nipple is incredible. Who is the artist and how did you come across their work?
Isn't the cover gorgeous? It screams of hope in the midst of despair, exactly the sentiment I was going for in "Nipple". The image is called Open Heart by Lisa Scholder and the model for the piece is an eleven year survivor whom I had the honor to meet just last week. I met Lisa through one of my sisters, an art consultant in the Tampa area. Working with Faces of Courage, a non-profit providing camp trips for cancer survivors and their families, Lisa helps survivors realize the true beauty of their altered bodies through her body paintings. I can't tell you how humbled I am to be associated with Lisa and the folks at Faces of Courage. You can find out more about these incredible woman at their websites.

Thank you for those links Mac. I'll definitely be going to check them out!
A friend of mine mentioned what a wonderful gift your book would make for someone suffering from, or having loved ones suffering from breast cancer. Are you looking at having WWYLYN available in print in the future?
I've heard the same comment from several people and couldn't agree more. As of last week, Nipple is availble in both e-format and print. Here are the links.
How was the foray into self-publishing? Was it a smooth ride?
I actually found the process easier than expected. The choices in self-publishing are numerous these days and surprisingly user friendly, even for a first timer. My biggest concern was producing a quality project. With the glut of self-pubbed books out there, quality is too often an issue. But, with the help of my wonderful beta readers and my talented editor, Calisa Rhose, I believe I've achieved my goal. 
I can attest to the fact that you absolutely have! I loved everything about this book. What is the main message you’d like your readers to take out of WWYLYN?
Hang in there and have faith. I know from first hand experience how frightening this battle can be and it's easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day trials involved in beating breast cancer. But everything they throw at you is doable with the right attitude, and you might just be surprised at the new, stronger woman who emerges on the other side of the abyss.
What else do you write and what are you working on right now?
I'm a romance novelist at heart. My joy is cataloging the antics and romantic adventures of the voices in my head. I've published several stories. Gift of the Realm (The Wild Rose Press) is a modern fantasy romance set in Ireland and That Dating Thing (Still Moments Publishing) is a lighthearted contemporary in the midst of Wall Street Greed. The Billionaire's Con, another contemporary, is due out late this fall from Still Moments. I'm currently working on a forth, with a football theme, and the fifth, a follow up to That Dating Thing.
Phew! You've been busy and you've certainly kept to your word. Take THAT cancer! ;)
Where can we find you and your books?
You can find all of my books at my website The links to both the publishers and Amazon are there. And while you're there, be sure to leave me a comment. I love making new friends.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Where Would You Like Your Nipple? was ultimately a labor of love, but much of what I went through could have been avoided by early detection. Please don't make the mistake I did. Do those self exams! You'll be glad you did.
Thank you so much for visiting us and sharing such a personal part of your life with us all, Mac. Its been such a pleasure to have you here. Anybody have any questions for Mac before she pops off to her next adventure?