Posted in Australian Paranormal Fantasy, Australian Rural Romance, Books by Juanita Kees, Small Town USA Romance

Tell Me a Story

Hello readers!

Today, I’d like to tell you a little bit about me and what inspires the stories I write.

I was born in a city not much bigger than a small town. Port Elizabeth is in the Eastern Cape, a small province on the southern tip of Africa. From an early age, I had a fascination for Australia. It might have had something to do with my crush on Skippy the Bush Kangaroo! As soon as I was old enough, I ransacked my Aunty Marita’s bookshelves in search of Mills & Boon romances set in Australia, and that’s when I fell in love with stories set in the outback. It took a few more years before I travelled to the land of my dreams. I’ve lived here for over twenty years now, absorbing the wonders of this beautiful land, loving the characters, humor and mateship, and writing stories about them.

When I wrote my first romantic suspense story in the back of my mathematics exercise book way back when I was sixteen, I never dreamt it would ever be published. It took three decades to get there, but in 2012 my dream became a reality with the Under the Law series from Harlequin’s Escape Publishing.  Set in the semi-rural foothills of Perth, three young boys, caught up in a gang crime, bring together families and lovers in a fight for freedom in Under the Law. The girl who wants to save them, a detective fighting to stamp out gang-related crime, and the link to a crime boss’ widow they weren’t expecting.

Then I drew on my experiences from back in 2010 when I was working in Quality Assurance and Safety and travelling to the small town of Boddington. I was inspired to start another series set in rural Western Australia. Secrets abound in the small Western Australian farming community of Wongan Creek. Old secrets resurface and new ones come to town, drawing the community together as gold fever threatens to tear their town apart. Book 3, Shadows Over Wongan Creek, is out now.

Now, while my roots are in Africa and I still call Australia home (Yes, sing along, you know you want to 😉), I left a piece of my heart on Pier 33 in San Francisco ten years ago. Having been around cars most of my life, I have a deep-seated passion for V8 Supercars and NASCAR racing. Cars have featured in most of my books, including the Bindarra Creek Romance series, but I had this itch to write a real racing story. Inspired by my favourite TV shows like Counting Cars and Full Customs Garage, and with a big-little nudge from a friend, I submitted a proposal to Tule Publishing. And so Calhoun Customs Garage was born. Ex Nascar race king, Marty Calhoun, has built a legacy for his family, and now it’s time to round them up and bring them home to claim it.  Each of his five children have hearts in need of overhauling. They all have hard lessons to learn. The one thing Marty wants most is to see his children find happiness and love at Calhoun Customs Garage.

So, as you can tell from the above, I have a mind like V8 engine. Too many moving parts, moving all at once 😊 Perhaps my craziest idea yet was to write a fantasy/paranormal about Greek gods coming back to life in the 21st century. The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not while the gods are in town. From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, The Gods of Oakleigh find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for. While it wasn’t an all-time best seller, readers did love Zeus’s antics and the harpies going through a manga phase. They want more of The Gods of Oakleigh and I’m waiting for those darn gods to begin misbehaving again so that I may write Odysseus’s story.

Thank you for sharing my inspirations and experiences today. If you would like to interact with me on social media, I’m pretty much everywhere and I’d love to hear from you.



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Posted in Australian Paranormal Fantasy, Books by Juanita Kees, The Gods of Oakleigh

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.