Daring and Different


And now for something completely different. It’s left of centre, out of the box and designed to be a whole lot of fun.

After writing and releasing Under Cover of Dark way back in 2014, my mind searched for something lighter, a challenge of a different kind, the opposite of the angst and trauma I’d submitted my characters to in that story. Not yet having established a brand back then, I decided to have a little fun with the gods and asked myself, “What if?” What if Greek myths revisited the modern world? What havoc would Zeus unleash on the 21st century. So began the journey of Arian and Jax in Finding Paradise.

Now their journey to publication and HEA wasn’t an easy one. The book got picked up by a US publisher and spent over 12 months caught up in a wasteland that can only be described as every author’s nightmare. Finally in early 2016, I received my rights back. By then I’d moved on from my gods, temporarily abandoning the idea of modern fantasy, continuing to write and develop my love for Australian small town stories and building a brand. But Zeus, Jax and Arian weren’t happy with being relegated to the bottom drawer and forgotten about.

I dragged them out, dusted them down and sent them off to my editor. Initially I’d planned to use the cover ordered by the US publisher, but I figured that if this story was going to have a second chance, it may as well have a fresh new cover to begin its journey. Thanks to the lovely Ida at Amygdala Designs for this beautiful cover.

I do have plans to write Odysseus and Penelope’s story one day, so I really hope you enjoy this mythical journey while I finish writing my next rural romance. I had a lot of fun writing this book and took some artistic liberties with the myth. It’s not every day you get to fly a harpy or drink ambrosia with Zeus while he embarks on a Twitter meltdown.

Readers, this story is different. It may not appeal to everyone. It may still travel a rocky road in publication, but life is short and I figured its better off out there for someone (hopefully) to enjoy rather than be delegated to darkness in a drawer somewhere. Publishing is a forever-changing business. Today’s trend is tomorrow’s yesteryear, so I like to keep my toes dipped in new waters while I continue to write the Australian rurals I love best. May this book take you on a different kind of adventure with the same message I have in all my stories – good always triumphs over evil, and true love conquers everything.

Finding Paradise

From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, Arian and Ajax find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for.

Arian Kendrick has always felt she doesn’t quite fit in. On holiday in Mykonos she rescues a little girl from drowning and discovers powers she didn’t know she had. As her long-dormant mystical talents blossom, so does her heart when she meets Ajax, the handsome, mysterious Greek-Melbournian who swears he is destined to be in her life.

After falling on his sword after the Battle of Troy, Ajax the Great is banished to Van Diemen’s Land where he must search for a way to redeem his soul. Two thousand years later, he is given a second chance when Zeus orders him to Mykonos to search out and protect the future Queen of the Faeries, Arianrhod. The last thing he expects is to fall in love.

But every romantic island holiday must come to an end, and the mysteries and fairytales of Mykonos fade into the suburban reality of Melbourne where Arian begins to doubt Greek lore and the magic in her veins.

Can Arian embrace her mythical legacy in time to save her people as Hades threatens to destroy Paradise forever, and will Ajax rise to fight by her side, or is he destined to fall on his sword for eternity?

The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not as long as the gods are in town…

Pre-order your copy on Amazon today.

Nominated!


Wonderful to see so many Escape authors on the list at the ARRA Awards. Congratulations to all and thank you ARRA, for your ongoing support.

The Escapades

We are so proud to be nominated for nine Australian Romance Reader Awards for books released in 2016!

arra-2016-nominees

We acknowledge especially Sarah Barrie, who has two books nominated, and our wonderful Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty authors who have both single title nominations and a nomination for best series.

You can find all the nominees here.

As always, we thank the Australian Romance Readers Association for all their hard work in running the awards every year, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the awards dinner on 25 February.

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Cover Reveal: Whispers at Wongan Creek


WhispersAtWonganCreek_Round1_V1Here it is at last! I think I may be in love with my hero. I had to be to write him. Along came my cover today and I’m ecstatic. The cover artist has captured him perfectly. Thank you, Escape Publishing 🙂 Now all I have to do is wait until November 15 to see if readers will love him too.

I had great fun writing Travis and Heather’s story, from their sizzling attraction to the conversations they have. And of course, there’s Casey and Harry who I hope you’ll love as much as I do.

Whispers at Wongan Creek

Travis Bailey has his hands full managing his canola farm while taking care of his orphaned niece and his elderly neighbour who is battling the onset of Alzheimers. He doesn’t have time to fall in love. Social worker, Heather Penney, knows what it’s like to care for someone with a debilitating illness. She lost her mother to Motor Neurone Disease. Initial blood tests show she might carry the same gene so her future isn’t guaranteed. Travis and Casey are fast winning her heart, but the small gold mining town of Wongan Creek holds sad and dangerous secrets. Travis’ twin sister drowned under suspicious circumstances and the town bully he suspects of her murder has turned his attentions to Heather.

Oh RuBY!


RBY-FINALIST-2016Wow, what a year it’s been. 2016 has been a year of celebration for me. I’ve been blessed with two beautiful new babies – a niece and a nephew – and my book baby, Home to Bindarra Creek has done very nicely since its release in December 2015.

Last month I received the news that Home to Bindarra Creek had made it to the finals in Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award (RUBY). I’m thrilled to be there with several wonderful authors who I admire greatly. Years ago, when I began this journey, I had dreams and aspirations but I never imagined being nominated, not once but twice, for this prestigious award.

I didn’t make this journey alone though. With every story I write, I have the support of my amazing critique partners and beta readers whose feedback is invaluable, and my family who make sure I’m fed and watered while I immerse myself in my own little world.

Home to Bindarra Creek might never have been written were it not for the fabulous SE Gilchrist whose brainchild the series was, and the ladies from the Hunter Romance Writers who so kindly invited this West Aussie to join them in this venture. What a pleasure it’s been to work with such a talented and organized group of authors. We created a town we all wanted to live in. Thank you.

To my wonderful critique partners: Kerrie Paterson, SE Gilchrist, Jennie Jones, Lily Malone, Claire Boston, Nora James, Susanna Rogers, Anna Jacobs and Teena Raffa-Mulligan – your input is magic. You’ve helped me craft a book with heart. My beta reader, Anne O’Dell, who gives me such wonderfully honest feedback – you’re a treasure. Not to be forgotten, my editor Belinda Holmes – you make me smile with your wonderfully uplifting comments and suggestions. And of course, readers, judges and RWA for making all this possible.

When life gives you a second chance …


You take it and say thank you, Universe.

It was with some sadness that  I said goodbye to the cover of my debut novel, Fly Away Peta this month. You see, it holds really sweet memories. I danced with happiness when I first saw the gorgeous artwork from Amanda Kelsey and knew that this would be my first ever real book cover.

2012 was the year my dreams came true as a newly published author and the book enjoyed a moderate success in the US with Eternal Press for four years. This week, thanks to a change of ownership at the press, I received my rights back for my first book baby.

I shouldn’t be sad though because this change gives Peta and Jaime a second chance. This means I can edit their story, improve it and make it fit with the rest of the Under the Law series where it belongs. Because this is where it all began for Detective Mark Johnson. Fly Away Peta no longer needs to be the ‘prequel’ to the series, no longer an outsider. It now has a chance to be part of the family. So hold thumbs as I add and delete scenes that will transform this story into Under Shadow of Doubt, Book 1 in the Under the Law series.

Book 1, The Gods of Oakleigh

Sadly, the events that released me from Eternal/Damnation meant I had to say goodbye to the cover of Finding Paradise, also by the lovely Amanda Kelsey. This book had a bumpy ride as soon after acceptance, the press changed ownership and it never reached the point of publication. By mutual agreement, I received the rights back. Now Arian and Jax will also have a second chance at having their story told. So hold thumbs for them too as The Gods of Oakleigh look for a new home. Who knows, you might get to see this cover again after all.

A Second Chance at Love, part 1


Talking second chance love over at the Escape Publishing Blog

The Escapades

by Juanita Kees

What if your first love isn’t the one for you? What if there is someone else out there who is your true soul mate?

Many of us remember the rush of our first love, The One with whom we dreamed of having the fairy-tale wedding, building our house complete with the white picket fence, having the perfect pigeon pair—a boy and a girl—and living happily ever after. Then reality checks in and life doesn’t go the way we’d planned it, and suddenly we find ourselves alone again.

Everyone deserves a second chance at love, which is why I love writing this trope. I have the power to give my characters the second chance they desire in a relationship with a guaranteed Happy Ever After. The challenge in writing it comes from finding ways to put a fresh spin on the ways second chances come about. There are…

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Home to Bindarra Creek 2016 Releases


Love and Life in a Small Country Town

Welcome to Bindarra Creek, a struggling country community whose townspeople work hard and love deeply.  Set in the tablelands of New England, Australia, the fictional Bindarra Creek is a drought stricken community full of intrigue, adventure, drama and honest country goodness. Life and love in a small country town has never been more challenging.