Racing Dreams and Family Saga’s

Merindah Park

by

Renee Dahlia

 

A brand new rural romance series about an emerging racehorse stud and the family desperately trying to make their racing dreams come true.

John Henry Bassett

‘Money lost, nothing lost. Courage lost, everything lost.’

My dad’s favourite quote. Maybe not one I should be listening to, given my gambling-addict dad sank our once-famous horse stud into a deep, deep hole. Five years I’ve been digging it out. Slowly. Carefully. And now … I am risking it all. Risking Merindah Park on a stallion. Tsuyoi Red, runner up in the Japan Derby last year.

Now is not the time to get distracted by a gorgeous, pragmatic veterinarian.

Toshiko Sato

I’m at a crossroads in my life. Though my father encouraged me to follow my dreams and become an expert veterinarian, he left our family’s horse farm, Tomikusa, to my younger brother. My family expects me to honour my father’s wishes and marry a neighbour-a perfectly nice man who I don’t feel any spark with at all. But my own ability to bet-successfully-on horse races has given me options.

This decision would be easier if I didn’t feel the wicked chemistry hovering between me and the handsome, broad-shouldered Australian that my brother has decreed I will travel with to Australia to look after an injured horse. I’m usually so good at calculating the odds. But how do I choose between losing my place in my family, and losing myself?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis and writing magazine articles. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a partner, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee as well as for Romance Writers Australia.

Q.  What sentences in writing have changed your life?

That’s an incredibly esoteric question! There is a sentence in a Lisa Kleypas book (A Wallflower’s Christmas) that I credit with giving me the idea to attempt to write a romance novel. I’d written non-fiction for over a decade, when I read this. I complained one day that I’d read all the books in the house, and there was nothing new at the bookshop, and Matthew challenged me to try writing one of my own.

Q. What is the best opening sentence you have written?

I have a soft spot for the opening sentence in The Heart of a Bluestocking (http://books2read.com/u/3yD16v).

It perfectly sums up the heroine, Claire.

‘No,’ Claire said emphatically. ‘I don’t owe you my time.’ She lifted her chin a fraction and glared at her father. He stared back with those astute eyes.

Q.     Best closing scene, you have written?

I enjoyed writing the epilogue to the Merindah Park series – it gives the reader one last taste of all the characters, as well as a nod to the success of one of the horses whose stories are threaded through the series.

Where to buy your book
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Lost Love and Hard Won Happiness!

Mel and I exit the car and make our way down to the creek where we’ve been told we’ll find Fenella Rose-Waterman, heroine and manageress of, The Cranky Lizard Winery.

It’s a hot day and we both welcome the cool shade which envelopes us as we near the Creek. Clear, sparkling waters run down the ravine and over rocks creating an aura of sublime peacefulness.

“There she is.”

Mel points to our left where a petite woman with midnight hair and clothes that match, stands, skipping pebbles across the surface of the water.

“Hi, Fenella.”

I wave as the two of us toddle toward her.

“Hi.”

She steps off the log she’d perched on and saunters over to us, hand outstretched. Her green eyes are bright, but gaurded, unlike her expression which is open in a blank sort of way.

“Juantia said we’d find you down here. How are you?” Mel shakes her hand and we all stroll back to the log Fenella had stood on moments earlier and sit down, Fenella between us.

“Fine.” She leans back and picks up a reptile, “This is Lucky.”

I cringe a little and Mel admires the scaley spiked headed beast.

“He won’t bite.”

A soft grin lightens up her face as she strokes the Bearded Dragon, sporting a red collar and matching leash, before putting him down on the ground before us.

“So, care to tell our readers a little about yourself?” I decide to start the interview.

“Muzz and Liv Waterman adopted me after my own mum died. They accepted me with all my troubles and worries. Never gave up on me. So here I remained, and now I manage the place.”

“That’s wonderful. Do you have any regrets?”

“I trusted a ratbag with my heart and my business.”

“Ratbag?”

“My ex. He emptied out the winery’s bank account.”

Mel and I give each other a painful glance. Wolves in sheeps clothing are every where these days!

“How do you see yourself?”

Fenella cocks her head and a dark shadow passes across her gaze.

“A survivor. I’ll never let anyone break me. But the shadows of my past seem darker on my down days.”

Mel shifts on her seat, “I like your leather bracelts.”

Fenella subconcoiusly grips one and twists. The movement pushes it up and I catch a glimpse of keloid scarring. This girly’s been through helluva lot more than she lets on.

“Anyone special in your life?”

Fenella’s eyes shoot toward me before she looks down as a frown creases her brow.

“He’s back.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

“He?” Mel gives Fenella and interested look.

“Kieran Murphy. But it’s too dangerous to get too close.”

I give Mel a , What the heck?, look and she shrugs.

The distant rumble of a car engine and tyres on gravel echoes across the warm air.

“Look. I’ve gotta go. It was great meeting you guys. Please feel free to pop by for a bottle of wine, on me.” She proffers a small smile then stands up, “Come Lucky, works a waiting.”

 

When the shadows ride in Wongan Creek…

Juanta Kees

Fenella Rose-Waterman is happy running The Cranky Lizard winery until a broken relationship lifts the lid on the Pandora’s Box of her past. After years of repressed memories haunting her dreams, she is forced to face the truth to find justice. But with truth comes a danger that puts everyone she loves at risk.

Kieran Murphy left Wongan Creek a newly-wed and returned a widower. He believes he and his young son will find healing in the town that healed him once before. Instead, he finds the woman he loved running scared, her life in turmoil and her business under threat.

As the shadows of the past gather on the horizon, will they lose their chance of happiness or will they find healing together?

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Memories, strong emotions, and the need to return to the past.

Jasmine Stevens Chatting with Auhtors

 

Who is Jasmine Stevens?

Jasmine Stevens is a Romance Author based in beautiful Newcastle, Australia. The natural beauty of the serene beaches of Newcastle and the tranquil countryside of The Hunter Valley, influences her when writing her Rural Fiction novels. She is an avid reader, lover of tea, Mum of two teenage children, a wife and the owner of one very spoilt Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Q. What sentences in writing have changed your life?

That’s easy. The quote comes from The Bronze Horseman written by the talented Paullina Simons. It said, ‘Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: What do you believe in? What do you hope for? What do you love?’

At the time of reading this book, I was experiencing a lot of self-doubt about my writing and wanted to quit and I did quit- for two days. Then I read the above quote and I asked myself ‘What do I believe in? What did I hope for, and what did I love? The answers came easily- I believed in myself to have the determination and courage to keep trying to reach my dream of becoming an author. My hope, was to one day see my words published and my love, was writing. I love writing with a passion, and I knew I couldn’t quit. I had a go, I believed in myself and now I am proud to hold a copy of my first novel in my hand. It’s a feeling I cannot begin to describe. It’s simply amazing.

Q. What book is Belle reading in Beauty and the Beast?

I have to admit I needed to look this up. Who knew that this was a thing? Really? I got swept up in the many, many, many theories. Some say the blank blue book Belle is reading is Aladdin or Sleeping Beauty. Some say it’s a lesson not to judge a book by its cover, relating to The Beast. The theory I believe, is that Belle is reading her own story before it happens.  She sings about faraway places, daring sword fights, magic spells and a prince in disguise. What do you all think?

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

 

Q. Which book left you feeling empty inside once you finished writing it?

It wasn’t so much a book but a short story I wrote in year 12 for my HSC. It was called The Family Portrait and was about a family of elephants who lost a calf and other family members to hunters. The story focussed on how the older calf helped his Mum through a difficult period. The story ended when the calf was grown and it was time for him to leave the herd and start his own family. I invested so much time into this story that when it was finished I felt like the story wasn’t completely done. There was so much more to tell. I wanted to know where the calf ended up. Did he make a family of his own? What adventures did he encounter along the way? I felt his story wasn’t finished.

Q. Who is the best villain you have written to date?

I don’t want to give too much away as this villain is in my second novel All of You. But let me say my villain is not a nice man and is seeking revenge on a police woman that killed his son.

 

Unsplash

 

Q. What is the best opening sentence you have written?

The opening sentence of my debut novel is:-

A plume of dust swirled up behind Charlotte’s shiny Mongoose bike as she pedalled speedily along the loose gravel road which weaved like a maze through dense bushland.

 

 

The Book!

Jasmine Stevens Waiting For You

Book Blurb

Eighteen years ago, Charlotte Denver left the quaint country town of Holbrook after a tragic accident. Now, she’s back in town to renovate her old family home, which will feature in the magazine where she’s employed as a journalist. Making the rundown house sellable will allow Charlotte to sever all ties with her tragic past and finally move forward with her life. That is until the one person she’d spent all these years trying to forget is contracted by her magazine’s editor to help her complete the job.

Will Beckett is no longer the twelve-year-old kid who used to play practical jokes on her, tease her and make her belly laugh. Now he’s a ruggedly handsome, sweet talking, successful builder. Despite Will’s wholesome country charm and sexy smile that makes Charlotte’s heart skip a beat, she’s determined to concentrate on the job at hand and protect her heart at all costs.

Will never thought he would see his best friend again, but now she’s back, as stubborn and strong-willed as ever. Her return reminds him all over again of everything she lost because of him, and he desperately wants her forgiveness. As they reacquaint with each other, Will becomes just as determined to reunite their friendship, as he is set to win her heart.

Can Will break through Charlotte’s wall of defence or will his heart be broken again?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Excerpt from Waiting For You

Charlotte’s senses came alive with the sights, sounds, and smells of being in the country. Memories flooded back to her in a torrent of emotions.

She could smell now, through the air conditioner vent, the unmistakable aroma of dairy farms and it made her remember Will’s father, Thomas. She had loved helping him milk the cows in the dairy and she adored those cows with their dribbling mouths and snotty noses. She had a sense of belonging back then, a feeling her life in Sydney had never given her.

It had been eighteen years since she’d left Holbrook. She had vowed never to return to the town that had robbed her of her happy and carefree lifestyle. In the days after the accident she had dreamt of the way life had been a week before, and still to this day, she would do anything to be able to go back in time.

You can buy a copy of Waiting For You, HERE

 

Where to find Jasmine Stevens

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