Getting Her Story Heard.

It started on a sunny afternoon at the Maleny Dairies in the spectacular Sunshine Coast Hinterlands, Queensland. A best selling Author attends a charity cow race and who should be the guest of honor?

None other than…

Continue reading “Getting Her Story Heard.”

Loss, Love, Redemption and a Miracle on Four Hooves.

I’ve been to Scotland before, as has Mel. That doesn’t stop us from being struck afresh by the beauty of the lochs and mountains.

The drive from Inverness up to Lairg is every bit as challenging as Sadie found it when she first arrived, except that it’s summer and there is no sheep auction due for some time.

Epona Lairg Michelle Dalton Author

I’ve accompanied Mel, (my partner in writing all things steampunkerish and my fellow BookBaybZ) to interview Sadie Munro, heroine and horse whisperer extraordinaire, the main character of my new bestselling release Epona.

We pull up to a large stone mansion. Scaffolding hugs its west wing. The beautifully manicured garden sports summer blooms and emerald green grass. The front door opens and out steps a woman I know almost as well as I know myself.

“You made it!” She smiles bringing together her hands beneath her chin as her fiery curls hug her cherry cheeked face. They emphasise eyes as green as the manicured lawn.

“Please to meet you.” Mel walks up and holds out her hand.

“Any friend on Mich’s…” She wraps a warm hug around Mel.

“Good to see you again.” I squeeze her shoulder before stepping inside the wide open entrance of Saorsa.

 

 

 

“How are Nan and Oupa?” I ask as she waves us toward her study.

“Oh very well. They are in town, meeting with the council, then they are going to play bridge with friends.” Sadie smiles and the enitre room lights up. “Come sit down, Giles will be in shortly with some tea and some of Mrs Perkins home-made short bread.”

“That’s nice.” Mel smiles when a greying gentleman in a suit walks in, tray in hand, and places it down on the table before us.

“Well don’t mind me,” I sit back with a steaming cup of Oolong, “Mel knows what she wants to ask.

Mel fires up her trusty iPad and nibbles on her lip, apparently unsure where to start.

“It’s been quite a journey for you, Sadie, and I’m not just referring to the hills. How have you been getting on?”

“It’s been interesting. Good, not easy but we’re happy… I’m happy, thanks.”

“You met your neighbour, Blane, under less than ideal circumstances. Do you think that’s why things were a bit tense between you?”

Sadie sits back in her chair hugging her cup of tea as she considers Mel’s question. The green of her eyes sharpen as a soft blush caresses the freckles on her face.

“Yes and no. It’s hard to see past the trauma when you sitting plum in the middle of it. I think the fact that his presence reminded me there was still good in the dark world I was lost in. It scared me, still does some days.”

Epona Michelle Dalton Author

I nod and bite into my biscuit. “Gosh these are good.”

“Leave one for me.” Mel looks at me over the rim of her glasses. I answer with a cheeky grin.

“Have you always had a connection to horses?”

“Since I can remember. Theirs were the first voices I heard as a child. They’re mighty and majestic, I often shudder to think I nearly pushed them away from my life.”

“Starting over in a new place seems like such a great thing to do. But that’s not your experience, is it?”

“I guess it helped that I arrived with no expectations. I was a hollow shell when I knocked on Munro Manor’s front door. It’s strange, like the soul of a horse who knows her kind, I knew I’d come home. I mean Africa was home, but she expelled me, and Scotland opened up her arms as though she knew I’d return to her someday.”

“Was there a moment when you turned a corner and saw a future, after all the grief of the past?”

Sadie swallows hard, leans forward and places her cup on the tray then places her elbows on her knees and looks Mel dead in the eye.

“The night Epona found me. But as humans, I guess we’re always turning corners aren’t we?”

“Thanks for your time and the great shortbread.” Mel smiles as she sits back and tucks in to her tea and biscuit.

“It’s such a pleasure. Please come back anytime.” Sadie replies.

EPONA

Michelle Dalton Author Epona Romance Womens Fiction BookBaybZ

Can Sadie overcome the trauma of her past and find redemption in the wild Scottish Highlands?

After a horrendous attack on her family farm in South Africa takes the lives of her loved ones and leaves her wounded, her only escape is to leave the country of her birth for the highlands of Scotland and her last living relatives. But Sadie’s life may still be in danger.
Blane Buchan is an Englishmen living in the small highland town of Lairg, seeking a life away from the emptiness of London society and a past he’d rather forget.

When Sadie finds a mysterious blue roan mare, she must use the gift given to her from Epona; Protector of horses. But the mare just might be the one who saves her.

From the mountains of South Africa to the wintry Highland Moors this is a story of redemption, love and the powerful connection between humans and horses.

Epona Michelle Dalton Author BookBaybZ Bestseller

 

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Cherry Blossoms, Umbrellas, and Heroes in Tutus.

About the Book

Literary Crush Publishing brings you a new spring anthology with four brand new sweet romance stories each written around the theme: April Showers.

 

About Your Story Jayne Kingsley

Cherry On Top

Adeline Miller has just accepted her dream job coordinating the final event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but being back opens up old wounds she’d rather keep buried.

Mason Smith knows he’d be nothing without Clarise and Jeffery Miller. They fostered him when he was a teenager and gave him a chance. But he knows, better than anyone, that he is to blame for the rift between them and their only daughter, Adeline.

A young love that wasn’t to be, can Mason now prove he’s worth the risk? Is Adeline ready, finally, to admit why she ran away, and by doing so achieve everything she wants in life and love?

Jayne Kinglsey

Jayne Kingsley writes contemporary romance filled with fashionable and fun heroines and hunky heroes. She holds a Bachelor of Design – Fashion and Textiles and spent 12 years working in the Fashion industry before hanging up her stilettos (temporarily) for life as a mum.

Q. Have you ever read the ending of a book after only reading the first few chapters? If no, why, if yes…why? 

Yes, either to find out who the real hero is or to check there is a happy ending, I don’t like books that don’t have an obvious happy ending. Having just read Stella’s answer I might hide now though 🙂

Excerpt from Cherry on Top

                                “Adeline?” A soft voice sounded behind her.

Oh no.

He wasn’t supposed to be here. She’d checked the guest list. Twice. His name wasn‘t there, which was the only reason she’d ticked yes to coming tonight.

Taking a deep breath, she turned on the spot; the air whooshing out as her eyes met whiskey brown depths. She stared, unable to pull her focus away before a slight bump from behind and distant apology flicked the switch back on her brain. Taking another sip of her glass she realized she’d finished it. Well done Addie, not quite the sophisticated image she’d been hoping to project. Mason signaled a waiter, taking her empty glass and replacing it with a full one, his fingers brushing hers with a whisper touch, yet she still felt the sizzle all the way to her heart…

 

About Your Story Stella Quinn

The Umbrella Diaries

Duncan needs a hero — he just isn’t expecting her to turn up on his front porch under a tattered red umbrella.

Marianne needs a new venue for her dance school to escape the unwanted attentions of a creepy groundsman, so the For Let advertisement in the newspaper seems like a lucky omen. Enquiries to 241 Hope Street, Cathedral Springs, between four and five pm, today only.

She plucks an umbrella from the stand in the hallway and sets off for make her enquiry. Her dance school business means everything to her; since the injury which destroyed her career, it’s the only dream for her future she has left. And today, she’s feeling lucky.

Duncan doesn’t leave his house. Not today, not yesterday, not since he left the hospital all those months ago with steel pins holding his leg together and the words of a dying teenager imprinted forever on his brain.

Turns out, he doesn’t mind living grumpy and alone in his big old house. At least, that’s what he’s been telling himself.

But then one day a young ballet teacher knocks on his door and pirouettes her way straight into his heart. Duncan’s going to have to find the courage to forgive himself if he wants a chance at living in the world again. And now he’s got a reason to try.

Stella Quinn

Believes romance, adventure and escape are the reasons we love to read. They’re also the reasons she loves to write. She’s just finished a trio of holiday romance novels:  Tropic Storm, Stowaway, which came second in the RWA Emerald Award for best unpublished manuscript in 2018, and Island Fling, which won the coveted Valerie Parv Award in 2018. She is thrilled her novella, The Umbrella Diaries, is being published in Literary Crush Publishing’s 2019 April Showers anthology, and she has a short story, Beneath The Waves, published in an RWA Australia anthology.

Q. What sentences in writing have changed your life? 

Some poetry lines have stuck with me over the years. “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gire and gymble in the wabe”, from Jabberwocky – I love this because it’s nonsense, but the heft and hew of it still manages to convey voice and imagery. Another is from a poem by Alfred Noyes: “The highwayman came riding, riding, riding; the highwayman came riding, upon a moonlit shore”, which I love for the sheer romance of it. Horse manes ruffling in a sea breeze, the thunder of their hooves … wonderful. There are heaps more, but those lines have been circling in my brain for decades.

Excerpt from Umbrella Diaries

Tuesday it was raining. Not that he was watching for her, because why would he be? He just happened to be at the window, that’s all. Purple leggings. Black boots with a heel that seemed a tad reckless given the icy conditions of the sidewalk. A coat of – what was that color? Grass green? Pea green? Frog green?

And today’s umbrella was tartan, like the tins of shortbread he remembered from the pantry when he was a boy. She’ll put the umbrella down to come through the gate, he thought. Then he’d see her face. But she put down the knapsack she brought with her each day to work instead. Dropped a hand over the latch and was through and out of sight before he could finish the thought. Not to worry. It couldn’t rain all week, and then she’d have no need of an umbrella. He could wait until the next day. He was good at waiting.

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Stella Quinn

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Jayne Kingsley

As Stella has said, I’d love if readers would like to subscribe to my newsletter to stay in touch, sign up even comes with a free short story!

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Thank You for taking the time to chat to us about your writing and your book.

Stella: Thank YOU Michelle and Melanie xxxxxx

JK: Thank you for having us lovely ladies! xxx

The Wild Wild West and a chat with a Hot Cowboy!

It’s a dusty afternoon; Mel and I are exhausted from the flight.

“I never drink beer, but I tell ya, one would sure as hell go down a treat about now.” I whinge as we plod into the local waterhole in Marietta.

“I hope they have decent tea.” Mel tries for a smile.

We amble up to the counter and a tall woman greets us. She is brisk and confidence. This is clearly her place. Her eyes are the colour of toasted barley. Chestnut hair with streaks of grey running through it is tied up out of the way.

“G’day y’all. Can see you ain’t from around here. What can I get ya?” Her smiles highlights the twinkle in her sharp gaze as Mel leans on the counter.

“An Earl Grey and a beer, please.”

The woman rubs her chin, “Can do for both, though I’ve never had such a strange order before.” She chuckles as she types our request in to the electronic till and I pay.

“So, what are two gals like you looking for in Marietta?”

“Nate Hansen,” is all I say as I turn around and squint at my fellow patrons, all drinking, eating and socialising.

“Hey Nate! There’re two ladies here looking for ya! Thought you’d gone and changed your ways.” The bar tender shouts out across the establishment to a man sitting in the farthest corner sipping from a mug. Both Mel and I jump.

Nate looks up from his table, “Hey, darlin’, now don’t be like that.” He shakes his head. Clearly it is an old joke between them.

The lady chuckles then looks at us, “I’ll brings yer drink over to ya.” She nods in Nate’s direction.

Nate rises from his seat and holds out a hand in greeting. “Take no note of her. She loves to remind me of the past.”

Mel takes it in hers, “No worries. Please to meet you.”

And then I do the same, “All good. How are you?”

“Nice to meet you both. I was intrigued when Ann called to let me know she’d arranged the interview.”

Nate is a man who has the whole ‘tall dark and handsome’ thing doing him all kinds of favours. His grip is frim and the callouses on his hands speak of hard work. But the scars on his face tell of some risky business too.

“Nice town.” I say as I sit down. Mel pulls out her iPad and its small keypad.

“Yeah. Been here my whole life.”

“You were born here?” I ask as I shift in the hard chair.

“Nope. Ma brought me and my two brothers here to live with my grandfather when we were younger. Never left.” He reaches for his mug of half-drunk coffee just as the bar lady arrives with our drinks.

“Do your brothers still live in Marietta?” I ask, then sip the ice-cold beer. Its bitter bubbles rush down my throat and wash away the dust and exhaustion of travel.

“Jethro took over the ranch when the old man got too weak to run it. He’s a good man. Set his life straight to help our grandfather out, better than I ever was.” A look of regret and shame crosses Nate’s dark eyes.

“I hope you don’t mind me saying,” Mel looks up from her screen and reaches for her cup of tea, “But you seem to harbour a lot of guilt?”

Nate sighs as he leans forward on the table. He pins us both down with a gaze that could melt underwear in two seconds flat!

“I’ve got a lot to make right. Spent my whole life blaming everyone and everything for losing our mother. I need to grow up, stop hurtin others. Hardest part is changing my reputation.”

“The one she eluded to earlier,” I point a thumb back over my shoulder in the bar lady’s direction.

Nate nods.

“Yeah. Had a bad habit of pickin fights, drinkin too damn much and waking up in a different bed each mornin. It ain’t a life I want to live. But now I have a reason to change.”

“And what’s that reason?” I ask, then take another large gulp of the bitter beer.

“Our Grandpa died before I could show him I was the man he wanted me to be.” I glance at Mel as we both note the deep regret and hurt which hugs the edges of Nate’s tone.

“I can see family means a lot to you, Nate.” Mel across her keyboard.

“Family. It’s everything!” His gaze shifts from that of a lost little boy to a man.

“So, do you work on the ranch with your brother?”

Nate leans back in his chair, pulling his hands through his dark hair as a grin spreads across his face. The smile speaks volumes and the twinkle which brightens his gaze tells of love, hope and good things.

“Nah, I work for Joy. She’s my… Read the book will ya.”

“I can’t help but notice the look of happiness in your eyes when you mention her.” Mel cocks her head.

Nate proffers a grin that has every buckle bunny in towns, knees turning to jelly.

“Well, Thanks for the chat Nate.” I reach out and shake his hand as Mel packs up her stuff.

“Pleasure.” Ever the gentleman, he stands to see us out.

 

About the Book

Nate Hansen desperately needs a reboot to his playboy image that doesn’t involve women, drinking and fighting. Rehabilitation and building a solid future proves elusive as he can’t land a permanent job until someone mentions local widow Joy Mitchell who’s advertising a full-time ranch job. Perfect.

Joy Mitchell is desperate for a ranch hand to help keep her dead husband’s legacy alive out of the greedy grasp of her manipulative father-in-law. Nate’s reputation precedes him, none of it good, but the ranch is running on empty, and Joy make the hard choice. Problem is the job she’s offering isn’t exactly what Nate had planned.

Nate knows what its like to lose everything, but seriously, become a mail-order groom? But Joy won’t or can’t compromise.

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The seductive truth about neighbours and Win!

 

Law & Disorder

by Liv Arnold

Lawyer Juliet Jackson has come head to head with Sergeant Jesse Burns on numerous occasions in court. He is provoking. Pigheaded. Punch-worthy. They don’t get along. Not one little bit. The unfortunate fact he’s also her next-door neighbour sends her loathing off the charts. But when Juliet’s caught locked outside her home in nothing but a skimpy towel, she must swallow her pride and turn to Jesse for help. She doesn’t expect the explosive chemistry between them and can’t help but wonder if Jesse’s as demanding in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom.

 

Law & Disorder by Liv Arnold

About Law & Disorder

I’ve watched the TV show Neighbours since I was a child. I used to come home from school, get changed, have a snack then sit down and watch. I love the community behind the storylines and the more light-hearted moments. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to have the heroine and hero as neighbours, but spice things up a little.

Liv Arnold AuthorAbout Liv

Liv Arnold has worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now runs her own freelance business. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and lives with her husband and their spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. When she’s not writing, Liv’s avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, she’s a massive book addict and often reads until all hours of the night.

 

Q. What sentences in writing have changed your life?

That’s a hard one. There’re no sentences that spring to mind. I found The Kite Runner written so beautifully. So much so in another book I’m writing, The Kite Runner is the main character’s favourite book.

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

Haven’t had that feeling so far. I’m so relieved when I finish my book and want to get stuck into the editing and my next book. I get distracted easily and work on multiple projects at once.

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

I’m drafting a YA fantasy romance that moves at a fast pace. Every chapter ends on a cliff-hanger and I tried to build intrigue from the first sentence with: How to Tell the Difference Between a Regular Mirror and a Two-way Surveillance Mirror?

BookBaybZ John Jennings

Q. Have you ever read the ending of a book after only reading the first few chapters? If no, why, if yes…why?

I hardly ever do that because I like to read from start to finish. I read an erotica though called The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty. I usually don’t read erotica (must have a romance in the story for me), so I read the first few chapters and the end. Was curious if the main character escaped being a slave and if she got her HEA.

Q. What don’t you want to see in a well-written villain that happens frequently?

A villain that has no clear internal conflicts or motivation. There’s also so many clichés that comes with villains – they’re ugly, they wear dark colours, there’s nothing relatable about them. I love 3D characters where the reader might end up sympathising with the villain’s cause.

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

In my next book, Etched in Stone, I’ve written a Constable character who’s a little bit of a villain. Well she causes a lot of trouble for the main characters anyway through blackmail, abuse of power and threats. She stops at nothing to achieve what she wants to get her justice, but she has strong motives.

Q.Best closing scene, you have written?

My closing scenes usually has a little bit of humour in them or a twist at the end. Hard to explain without giving the ending away. For example, my short story The Commander and the Beast which was in the finals for the Monash Short Story Competition: Read it Here

This story was my first that placed in a competition and it ends with a twist that hopefully people wouldn’t have seen coming.

Competition Time

BookBaybZ and Liv Arnold Author

To win a copy of Law & Disorder, please follow my page www.facebook.com/livarnoldauthor and message me telling me you’ve followed. Winner will be drawn on 31 March 2019.

 

 

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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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