Posted in Books by Juanita Kees, Under the Law

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!


Posted in Between the Pages

The Writing Process Blog

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Here’s me, on tour again, and as my lovely friend,  Claire Boston tells us: “What Goes on Tour…”

Mmm…well on this tour, I’m happy for you all to tag along with me and bring a few friends too. This blog is played like a game of tag, so stay tuned because at the end, I’m going to introduce you to some of my writerly friends who also happen to be brilliant authors 🙂 Consider yourselves tagged!

We authors love sharing the love and you get to discover authors you may not know about. So don’t be shy, come along and chat to me in the comments. I’m going to tell you a little about what I’m working on right now. Here goes:

1. What am I working on?FB Banner

A romance filled with magic, set on a beach in Mykonos, a Greek god or two and finding the ‘perfect’ man.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Normally, I write romantic suspense, but now I’m taking some time out from the Tag Raiders series to lighten the mood a little. Finding Paradise is a mix of romance, magic, fantasy and comedy with a little suspense thrown in – that’s if you count the element of surprise as suspense!

3. Why do I write what I do?

There’s more to love than romance, roses and white picket fences. These are simply the sweeteners that make it all worthwhile. The real test of love is how far you will go together to achieve your goals. It’s about team effort, loyalty and dedication in fighting for what you believe in, and overcoming the obstacles you stumble across as partners. So I write feisty heroines who don’t make it easy for the hero, and heroes who aren’t afraid to meet the challenge.

4. How does my writing process work?

1 part wine, 3 parts chocolate and an active imagination 🙂 Seriously, I’m a pantster. I might have a basic plan and plot out scenes to keep me on track but mostly, I let the characters speak for themselves and edit them later. My stories are sparked by places, dreams or thoughts and usually it’s the title that comes to me first.

Enough about me! It’s time to meet those authors I told you about earlier. First up is the lovely lady who invited me along on this tour:

Belinda Williams:belinda

Belinda is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who, after spending more than a decade writing about financial services, IT and hospitality, allowed an addiction to romantic suspense and chick-lit to get the better of her.

Belinda was named a finalist in The Romance Writers of Australia Emerald award in 2013 for her novel debut, Radiant, and again in 2014 for her upcoming contemporary romance, chick-lit novel.

When she’s not obsessing about writing, reading or social media, Belinda works as a freelance marketing consultant.

Her other obsessions include music and cars. Belinda is a music lover and her eclectic taste forms the foundation for many of her writing ideas. Her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s supercar Hot Wheels collection and the occasional drive in her much loved MX-5.

Belinda lives in Sydney, Australia.

I’m tagging:

Teena Raffa-Mulligan:Jimbocrop1-251x300

Teena is an Australian children’s author who has figured out some unusual ways to get rid of wrinkles, the fuel to launch a grandpa into space and a trick to help an elephant lad remember not to go with strangers who pretend to be friends. (She also sells Mad Dad’s and Dresses God!) Teena is also an accomplished speaker and talks to children of all ages in the school environment about writers and writing. Sessions are tailored to individual requirements and Teena’s approach is relaxed and informal, with a focus on inspiration and encouragement.

Jennie Jones:BB Print Cover_FULL 9781743567746

Born and raised in Wales, Jennie loved anything with a romantic element from the age of five. At eighteen, she went to drama school in London then spent a number of years performing in British theatres, becoming someone else for two hours, eight shows a week. Jennie wrote her first romance story at the age of twenty five whilst ‘resting’ (a theatrical term for out of work). She wrote a western and sent it off to Mills & Boon in the UK who politely and correctly declined. She put writing to one side after that and took a musical theatre job. Which brings Jennie to her favourite quotation: “Fate keeps on happening.” —Anita Loos. When Jennie’s life changed and a new country, marriage and motherhood beckoned, she left acting and the UK. She now lives in a log house in Western Australia, a five minute walk to the beach that she loves to look at but hardly ever visits due to there being too much sand. (Sand is like glitter; once it gets between your toes, you keep finding it in the house for months.) Jennie returned to writing three years ago. She says it keeps her artistic nature dancing and her imagination bubbling. Like acting, she can’t envisage a day when writing will ever get boring.

Lily Malone:HBOB

Lily Malone is a journalist and freelance writer who discovered, after years of writing facts for a living, that writing romance is much more fun. She wrote His Brand of Beautiful after the birth of her second son, taking inspiration from the once-in-a-century-floods that filled Lake Eyre in outback South Australia in the summer of 2010-11. Lily juggles writing with the needs of a young family, and when she isn’t writing, she likes gardening, walking, wine, and walking in gardens (sometimes with wine).

Nora James:Dark Oil

Nora James started her working life at age 14 in a bakery in Paris. She held a number of other jobs before studying law at the University of Western Australia and becoming an international resources lawyer and translator. She has travelled extensively, both as a child and adult, for family reasons, work and pleasure. She now writes novels and screenplays from her home in coastal Western Australia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and a menagerie of furry friends.

Nina Blake:Forget Me Not

Nina Blake didn’t learn English until she went to school but that didn’t stand in the way of her love of reading. Unlike other authors, when Nina was growing up her house was never full of books, and as a teenager her mother told her she read too much. As if such a thing were possible. After university, Nina worked in public relations managing publications. She still loves publications—both hard and soft copy—and was delighted to have her first novel published through Escape. She lives in Perth, Australia, with her husband and son.