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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A Big WooHoo


Happy New Year and welcome to 2015. For those of you who follow the Chinese Zodiac it is the year of the sheep (or goat or ram, if you prefer). Because I was born in the year of the sheep, this is my motto:

I am a passive onlooker
I let bygones be bygones
Goodness brings me fortune
I believe in the human race
I understand the meaning of giving
My cup is never empty
I am loyal and just and in others I trust
I AM THE SHEEP

That motto served me well in 2014 and I expect no different now.

Today I have reason to celebrate this writing life. I’ve popped my head out of the Passive Onlooker’s Cave (i.e. my writing room) to say thank you to readers, followers and friends for their support of my writing journey. I was blessed to be a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia 2014 RUBY award with Under the Hood and today, another blessing: Under Cover of Dark made it to the finals of the 2014 Australian Romance Readers Awards.

So join me in a big Woohoo and a toast to the Tag Raiders Series, Escape Publishing, Australian Romance Readers Association and all the finalists in their various categories. Australia really does have talent.

 

REVIEWER SPOTLIGHT: Write Note Reviews


I’m honoured to be named one of Write Note Reviews Top Five Aussie Reads in 2014! Big squee to be in amongst these awesome Aussie reads.
Billabong Bend by Jennifer Scoullar

Red Sand Sunrise by Fiona McArthur

Outback Blaze by Rachael Johns

Under Cover of Dark by Juanita Kees

Mountain Ash by Margareta Osborn

AusRomToday

Reviewer Spotlight: Write Note Reviews

 

Tell us a little more about Write Note Reviews:
As a book reader and food enthusiast in no particular order, I’ve always thought books and food go well together. For me, it all started with popcorn … eating a bowl of popcorn and reading at the same time. Write Note Reviews combines these two loves with two more – writing and photography. My book reviews (from 2013 onwards) are complemented by a suggested food treat that “matches” the book. But really, the site is just a way for me to immerse myself in the world of books in a way that suits me best.

 

What prompted the creation of Write Note Reviews?
I started reviewing books while working at a community newspaper as a journalist, and later, editor. Apart from writing a regular column, it was one of my favourite aspects of the role…

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5 Ways to Disguise a Saucy Secret


In Book 1 of the Tag Raiders Series, Under the Hood, teenage gang leader, Tiny Watts can’t afford to be caught telling his story in graffiti on walls—drug ring leaders Gino Bennetti and Nic Albero will kill him. Instead, Tiny keeps a diary filled with graffiti sketches that contain clues to the drops, ringleaders and their crimes. In book 2, Under Cover of Dark, deciphering his diary becomes a job for the sexy Detective Mark Johnson when Tiny is murdered and the case becomes a whole lot more complicated.

Whatever it is your hero or heroine want to hide, here are 5 ways to disguise their saucy secret:

The Escapades

by Juanita Kees

In Book 1 of the Tag Raiders Series, Under the Hood, teenage gang leader, Tiny Watts can’t afford to be caught telling his story in graffiti on walls—drug ring leaders Gino Bennetti and Nic Albero will kill him. Instead, Tiny keeps a diary filled with graffiti sketches that contain clues to the drops, ringleaders and their crimes. In book 2, Under Cover of Dark, deciphering his diary becomes a job for the sexy Detective Mark Johnson when Tiny is murdered and the case becomes a whole lot more complicated.

Whatever it is your hero or heroine want to hide, here are 5 ways to disguise their saucy secret:

  1. In a Crossword Puzzle

Homer Simpson fans might recall the episode where Homer gets a job breaking up couples, and Lisa becomes an expert crossword puzzle solver, but Homer bets against her in a competition and she…

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Romance Rocks the East Coast


350 women and 4 men … Olympic Park has not experienced an event like it before. The bar was abuzz, the first floor under siege and the Novotel staff smiled from ear to ear.

Of course, when you bring together a bunch of romance authors there’s bound to be more than a little entertainment. Imogene Nix, Danielle Belwater and Xanthe Blake found the intriguing pattern in the curtains inspiration for a murder plot,

Body in the Bedrooma little Luna Tango at the Harlequin dinner with Juliet Madison and hottie, Marco (phwoar!)

Marco n Julietand, with a cocktail party theme of leather and lace … well, I’ll leave that one up to your imagination!

Maggie Mundy DeliversThere were plenty of “squee” moments too. I was thrilled to be part of the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation Wall of Hands project last Thursday. Thank you Escape Publishing for choosing Under the Hood as part of the package donated at the RWA Literacy High Tea in Sydney.

Then it was time for Awards Night. This year I was honoured with two award nominations: RWA’s R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year) Award and the Lynne Wilding Volunteer Award. Both these nominations are close to my heart, one because I love writing romantic suspense and am thrilled the reader judges loved my book enough to put it through; the other because volunteering for RWA has made my life so much richer.

RBY Finalist

Catching up with everyone at conference is like coming home to family. Every year I’m inspired by the warmth and generosity of the members, the wealth of knowledge applied to the workshops and of course, the … perks 😉

Marco n Me

On Sunday afternoon, weary delegates disbanded with sore feet, strained voices, information overload and a stash of goodies to add to their luggage. I think we can say a good time was had by all and Romance really does Rock. Thanks to Juliet Madison, Maggie Mundy, Xanthe Blake, Danielle Belwater and Imogene Nix for the photos. We’re off to Melbourne next year. I wonder what surprises will be in store for us there?

sydney-conf-logo

 

Oh Ruby!


Wow…just wow. The last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. From tears of happiness to dances of joy – I’ve run the whole gamut.

First came the announcement that Under the Hood had made it to the finals of the RWA RUBY award. To be nominated for this award, among all the Printwonderfully talented finalists, is a huge honour and I cannot thank the reader judges enough for their nomination. Under the Hood’s success means the world to me, not only because I enjoyed writing it so much, but because of the underlying message of the story. As the mother of two boys going through the motions of teenager- and new adulthood, my biggest fear was the threat of street gangs and drugs. So a lot of heart and tears went into writing the story that bled oil from my veins.

Hot on the heels of the announcement came my fabulous new cover for Under Cover of Dark – and when I say hot, I mean HOT! The cover artists at Escape Publishing excelled with this one and captured the intensity of this story perfectly. Book 2 in the Tag Raiders Series takes up where Under the Hood left off with the sexy detective Mark Johnson on the hunt for Tiny Watts’ murderers. The timing of both the award nomination and the cover release couldn’t have been better with release day looming on August 1st.

Just when I thought life could not possibly get better, I received the news that I have been nominated for the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award. Volunteering for the Romance Writers of Australia is something I do quite happily as a means of giving back to the community that welcomed me into their hearts and homes, and helped me grow through critique groups, conferences, workshops and their generosity in sharing their knowledge with newbies like me.  RWA volunteers sacrifice time out of their lives, both private and public, to keep the wheels of this fantastic organization turning and they do so because of their passion for both the written word and the organization itself. Lynne would be proud of all your efforts. So a huge congratulations to my fellow nominees:

Jen Brassal
Di Curran
Catherine Evans
Marilyn Forsythe
Lis Hoorweg
Anita Joy
Margaret Midwood
Bec Sampson

Then, the icing on my cake…today I got an email from Harlequin to say Under the Hood has been chosen to be part of the wonderful RWA Literacy High Tea to raise funds for literacy in Australia, and will be one of the promotional materials (in ePub) donated to the estimated 200 delegates – a mix of writers, readers and librarians. WOW…just wow. I couldn’t have chosen a better cause to be part of, so thank you (Harlequin) Escape Publishing and the Romance Writers of Australia.

So there you have it, folks! Never give up on your dreams…

One more thing before I go and edit the wonderful Ann B Harrison’s latest rural miracle, Outback in Stillettos:

Thank you to my wonderful team of beta readers and critique partners without whom my work could not grow –  Jennie Jones, Lily Malone, Kerrie Paterson, SE Gilchrist, Nora James, Claire Boston, Teena Raffa-Mulligan, Nina Blake and Anna Jacobs, and of course, my family, friends and fans – you ROCK!