Back from the Dead… Kidding.

Almost…

It’s been a long time but I have late notes. Several of them, all signed by prominent physicians. Ha! But,  and here’s where I show my respect for you dear readers –  😉  I’m NOT going to bore you with deets! How good am I? I know. I’m very good.  I can feel your appreciation from here. I can hear it in the long sighs of relief. 

And even though there’s a little ways to go before I cross that finish line, I STILL won’t bore you with all those ‘let me show you mine’ stories.  I know, I know. Again. I’m a freakin’ saint, right? 

However, I’m heaps betterImage may contain: 1 person than I was, and dying to tell you what’s happening in my world and find out what’s happening in yours. I’ve missed being here. It’s weird really, I’ve never been a great blogger but all the time I was away from the computer, things I wanted to share kept popping up, so I feel I’ve returned with a renewed enthusiasm. 

Hopefully I can sustain it and will be relying on you to keep me honest. 

Staying Sane

Next time I want to talk about what I’m doing, but for now I want to talk about how I stayed (ha! almost) sane during the past eighteen months because it will reflect what will appear here from time to time. 

Sometimes when things are bad in your life, you need to find a place to escape. Whether that be physically, if you can, or mentally – find it and visit often. 

Initially for me, that turned out to be baking and cooking. No surprises. They’ve always been passions of mine. Strangely though, television shows of that ilk haven’t. BUT, when you can’t do the physical, take the next best thing. TV shows. And cookbooks. 

I lived by them. I got to know ( in my head – very dangerous 😉 ) all the presenters intimately and almost bankrupted myself adding to my already  ridiculous collection of cookbooks. You know what though? It kept me occupied and kept me thinking forward; planning what I’d create when I could.  I wasn’t able to plot or write per se, but this was something I could do. 

The beach was my other solace. I’m fortunate to live on the doorstep of both the Pacific Ocean, and Lake Macquarie. I spent  – and spend- hours there. Especially on the beach. Walking. Sitting. Thinking. People watching. I always had a notebook in my bag and almost always came home with an idea. 

Image may contain: ocean, sky, nature, outdoor and water

It honestly worked and I can’t stress enough that if you’re struggling physically or mentally to try to find one thing you can get passionate about; one thing to keep you looking forward. It helps. 

So, as the weeks progress, yep, I’ll be talking writing and reading – my faves. But also there’ll be some cooking or baking stuff thrown in. Just because I can. I also (not this year) grow vegies and some fruits – so maybe I’ll be tossing some of that in. I hope not to bore you, but to share some of my world. 

Talk soon. 

Winners & Grinners

K08B3ICA60IGY1CA0HDVAGCAFNC7CGCAXAZRKECAKVA8VVCAWDRIXTCA5LG0OFCACA1S2ACAT877WWCA7PN5OFCATCPIIYCA6W1O5YCAZPIKTBCAZ29L3CCA72BSGJCAGQFWBECADQXVNQCAO3WAHXCA1MY5WAToday is the day we pick the winners from those who helped me celebrate my cover reveal. Thank you for all your support; the number of people who comment is a fraction of all those of you who have visited – and I just want everyone to know I’m grateful for your time.  So that’s the winners part of this post (names at the bottom because – well because I’m slack and I haven’t yet drawn those names. Get ready to have a pin stuck in you, or grabbed. Manhandled…? I won’t tell you which method I choose, you can imagine your own preferred deciphering process. I’m not going to ask which. Way too much information for me...)
The grinners? A couple of fotes from our classy coffee catch up last Sunday at The Edwards. A cool lazy afternoon filled with chatter and food and wine.
2015-10-18 15.12.57   Like-minded people, wine and food. Is there a more fabulous combination anywhere? (Not that I’m agin ‘unlike-minded’ people, but sometimes it’s just great to talk to people who speak your language and travel your journey. It’s simultaneously energizing and relaxing. Go figure. )
So, who turned up? After a few were struck down with last minute lurgies and other stuff like turning up on the wrong day ( I didn’t ask for excuse notes and looking at you Morgan Bell and also Sheree Kable, Kim Ross, Deb Kelly, Natalie Daniels, Liz Anelli and 2015-10-18 15.09.39sincere apologies to anyone else I missed )
Susan Whelan and I got to hang with Bev Murrill, Katrina McKelvey, Cynthia Hyde, Nat Petrohelos, Ant Wood, Alyssa Brugman  &  Trinity Doyle.

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I’m techo-challenged at the best of times, but it doesn’t help if your system won’t cooperate. So:
Photo 1, From L: Cynthia Hyde, Trinity Doyle, Katrina McKelvey, Susam Whelan, Bev Murrill.
Photo 2, from L: Alyssa Brugman, Ant Wood, Nat Petrohelos, Cynthia Hyde.
Photo 3, from L: Kaz & Alyssa.
So now to the exciting part! Winners!!
And the winners are: Drumroll Please…

KYLIE   and   SELENA

Congratulations! Please contact me to supply your addresses so I can get these gorgeous books packs away.

Out Jan, 2016. Avail pre-order now!The Reluctant Jillaroo

January 2015

Pre -order now!

Launches! A day of Magic and Secret Caves…

I am blessed to have many author friends all over the world, but also blessed to live in a community with a strong fellowship of authors who all support each other.
This weekend was a big one with two launches and plus a get-together the next day of a dozen or so other author friends – but that last one I’ll leave until next time. For now: launches!

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The first launch was for children’s author Jess Black who launched the third book in her Keeper of the Crystals series at MacLeans Bookstore in Hamilton. This one is entitled, Eve and the Mermaid’s Tears. It’s a beautiful book and a beautiful series for those younger readers who are coming into chapter books – 7-10 years – and confident readers as  well. The bonus is a lovely story where mermaids are being chased by dastardly pirates who want the mermaids’ tears to sell because those tears are like precious treasure.

The afternoon was busy! Our hosts, Max and Amanda of MacLeans had gone out of their way to create a deep sea experience, complete gently wafting strips of ethereal fabric heralding the entrance to the Mermaid’s Cave. There was the opportunity to make your own pirate IMAG0954or mermaid plate – I’ve always wanted to be a pirate – some tasty morsels that looked like they’d been sprinkled with mermaid’s tears (wow) plus a very sweet, well mannered real-life mermaid – complete with flapping tail.

It was an afternoon full of fun for kids and adults alike. This book will be available in a bookstores and if you’re local, MacLeans certainly have it. Look carefully and you might even catch a glimpse of a naughty mermaid still hovering among the books. Who knows? You might be lucky!IMAG0955

Congrats, Jess – we wish you huge success!

2015-10-17 18.20.37The second event, held that evening,  was slightly more upmarket (no mermaids in sight and not one banana masquerading as a pirate. Or was the other way around? A pirate masquerading as a banana? ) however there was still a sea theme – well at least I usually associate sushi with the sea. Prawns, fish etc. Yes? No? And instead of sea water we had something way more palatable – bubbles! Yes, sparkling wine – which I still erroneously  refer to as champagne!  Not that it stayed in the glass long enough to debate the correct title.

This time we’d gathered to celebrate the launch of Deborah Kelly’s book of Haiku Poetry entitled Haiku Journey at Reflections Within, an inspirational New Age store in BelmontOn this gorgeous balmy evening Maxine, the proprietor, gladly opened her doors to her own Aladdin’s Cave-like shop strung with sparkling crystals, a venue that well suited the book. Acclaimed children’s author Deb, (her latest picture book, Dinosaur Disco was released just last month)2015-10-17 18.10.43 has long had a love affair with everything associated with Japan. She even met her husband, ‘a spunky young Aussie’, as she referred to him,  when both were working there, and their two children have Japanese inspired names –  so it was no surprise that she’d one day create something close to her heart that would incorporate all that love.2015-10-17 18.34.24

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that is recognized by its three line, 17 syllable format.  Each poem has a significance as part of Deb’s journey over her two years in Japan. She arrived there originally with two bags, no money and two words of Japanese – one of which was sushi! And yet she learned quickly to love this land for all its quirks and beauty. The following poem appears in the section entitled ‘Summer’ and I loved the images it evokes.

               Mottled Midori

             I drink of the park as though

            it were a cocktail

It was a warm, gentle evening as befitted the style of the book. We nibbled and sipped and chatted to friends. Deb and her sister, and Deb’s gorgeous little daughter all shared some of the poems.

Before 2015-10-17 18.11.29and after the official part of the evening,  the illustrator of Haiku Journey, Stephen Cassettari, quietly yet enthusiastically, demonstrated Chinese Brush Painting. Breathtakingly gorgeous and his delicate style enhances Deb’s words.  If you’re interested in Haiku, Japan or just want a treat, this book will be available at Reflections Within, Pacific Hwy Belmont.  (02) 4945 1800

Congrats to you as well Deb, it was lovely to share your journey through the Haiku!

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Out Jan, 2016. Avail pre-order now!

The Reluctant Jillaroo

Out January 2016, Allen & Unwin

Avail for pre-order now!

Keep Up, Kaz!!!!! You can Pre-Order! Duh!!!

The Reluctant Jillaroo can be pre-ordered! And is it bad of me to want to go and order 50 copies!!!?  100?

Okay, so I’m always behind the eight-ball. The world always seems to steam ahead and I’m left coughing up dust wondering what just happened.

Take this week for example: What did I do? I revealed my cover to the world. Well, at least to my precious family, friends and readers.  Proudly, I  let you all into my big secret. The secret of my gorgeous cover. The cover that no one had seen.

Right?

WRONG! (Can you hear that heart-sinking ‘bong bong’? You know the one…  It’s the one that accompanies every wrong answer on every television quiz show ever invented.)

Why? What happened?

Well, after I’d proudly performed the cover reveal, I did a random Google of the title because, well – there’s no because. I just did.  I expected to find nothing.

 I didn’t. In fact I found heaps! Images of my secretly held cover are everywhere! And what’s more it’s up for pre-order. And I didn’t even know!!!  Did you? I bet you did… Sigh.   So my beautiful friends and readers who live too far away to join me at one of the launches either here or in Scone – you can pre-order! Right here at Booktopia if you’d like.

Forgive me for seeming pushy – those of you who know me know that’s not the way I operate. But you know, I just love this book so much that I sooo want it out there so others can share and hopefully love it the way I do. I want to keep looking at it, I want to talk about – and I want your opinion!

And if you somehow missed the hullaballoo last week – here’s what it’s all about. For those of you who celebrated with me, be warned. It’s happening again. I’m revealing all over again! 😉 I told you I’d be hopeless about this book! So, quick! Close your eyes! But most of all – don’t forget that competition. I’m off to a book launch tomoz (at MacLeans Bookstore) and I’ll be searching for the best titles to add to those bookpack prizes!

Remember it’s still open until the 23rd  which is next week! (Because I can’t count and I thought today was going to be the 23rd. Good thing I write books and don’t write Federal Budgets. Because, you know, of the ‘not being able to count’ thing…Then again, fiction is fiction. Right? 😉  )

The Reluctant Jillaroo

Kaz Delaney
AUD $16.99
 9781925266061.jpg
 Surf-loving Heidi impersonates her horse-mad twin to help Harper get a scholarship to attend the much sought-after agricultural school in this rural romance from Australia’s queen of teen, Kaz Delaney. Suitable for teen readers of Rachael Treasure.

Harper Gage has won the opportunity of a lifetime – ten days at Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school. The camp could give her the recommendation she needs to go to the exclusive Agricoll for years 11 and 12. But when an accident leaves Harper hospitalised, her twin sister, Heidi, goes in her place. The only problem is that Heidi is not much of a country girl – not like her sister. And to make life even more complicated, her sister’s biggest rival Trent is going to be there. Will she be able to fool him?

And then the reality of the school hits Heidi hard. It’s all dust, snakes and heat – a million miles away from the surf she loves. When she meets the fun and handsome Chaz, life at the school suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, although with Trent acting up and trouble brewing with the other students, Heidi’s not sure how long she can keep her identity secret. And if her secret is revealed, will Chaz ever be able to trust her again.

Drum Roll! Cover Reveal: The Reluctant Jillaroo! Prizes to be Won!

Image result for celebration

Well, I’ve been waiting and waiting… Waiting to get the Hi-Res final copy of my cover so I could show you. And finally I’ve chased it down!  Do you know, have any idea, how hard it’s been to sit on this!!

My agent, Jacinta di Mase, summed it up when she said this cover is ‘simply delicious’. And she’s right. It just draws me back and back to it. So pretty. And it’s got horses inside! Well, not pictures, but the story certainly features horses. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Expect to see it around because – why not? It’s so gorgeous, I may not be able to stop myself flaunting it.

And so, without further ado…

9781925266061.jpg

What do you think? I’d love to know.

My publisher, Allen & Unwin, intro:

Surf-loving Heidi impersonates her horse-mad twin to help Harper get a scholarship to attend the much sought-after agricultural school in this rural romance from Australia’s queen of teen, Kaz Delaney. Suitable for teen readers of Rachael Treasure.

The Blurb:

Harper Gage has won the opportunity of a lifetime – ten days at Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school. The camp could give her the recommendation she needs to go to the exclusive Agricoll for years 11 and 12. But when an accident leaves Harper hospitalised, her twin sister, Heidi, goes in her place. The only problem is that Heidi is not much of a country girl – not like her sister. And to make life even more complicated, her sister’s biggest rival Trent is going to be there. Will she be able to fool him?

And then the reality of the school hits Heidi hard. It’s all dust, snakes and heat – a million miles away from the surf she loves. When she meets the fun and handsome Chaz, life at the school suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, although with Trent acting up and trouble brewing with the other students, Heidi’s not sure how long she can keep her identity secret. And if her secret is revealed, will Chaz ever be able to trust her again?

 To help me celebrate, I’m giving away two randomly drawn prizes. All you have to do to be one of those two winners is to comment – even just a couple of words –  on this particular blog over the next week or so. Okay, we’ll make it by the 23rd October.

The prize? A delicious Book Pack featuring mostly YA books by Aussie writers, plus a couple of books for younger readers and even the adult readers won’t be forgotten! And because it’s me – there HAS to be something sparkly in the mix, right? Such fun!  

So, come on in! Don’t be shy! Celebrate with me. It’s not much fun celebrating alone.

See you soon!

Big Smooches,

Kaz

Feelin’ the Heat in Downtown Scone and looking for Agatha Christie

  Scone lit fest logo

The state was experiencing a heatwave but in the 150 year old church, now the home of the Scone Arts & Crafts, with its 60cm thick stone walls, there was barely a bead of sweat in sight.

Graeme Simsion, Moi, Anne Buist

Graeme Simsion, Moi, Anne Buist

The old church was almost to capacity as folk from the Upper Hunter & surrounds gathered to hear from guests and locals alike. I was privileged to be one of those invited guests  – along with Phillip Adams, Graeme Simsion, Samantha Turnbull, Ged Gillmore, Anne Buist & Nick Brasch.2015-10-03 11.53.38

Outside where we gathered for lunch we forgot the heat and just allowed ourselves to be swept up in the amazing garden setting. Honestly, I felt like I was in an Agatha Christie novel! The old English cottage garden, the sweeping trees that shaded us, the bees buzzing lazily, the jugs of lemon infused chilled water, the easy chairs and umbrellas … I was sure a ‘wasp’ was going to ‘sting’ me and I’d die, but Miss Marple would suspect foul play when she detected that faint aroma of crushed almonds in the blue foam spewing from my mouth. Hehe…2015-10-03 11.48.59

It was a wonderful three days.  We argued the merits of the book over the film with the panel below.

Also incklused, President of the Scone Literary Long Weekend Committee (in lemon) Anne Davies; and Leonie Rogers.

Also included, President of the Scone Literary Long Weekend Committee (in cream) Anne Davies; and Leonie Rogers.(red)

We discussed gender stereoptyping, we learned about Patrick White the (fascinating) man from Dr Judy White – a relative of Patrick whose family still live just out of Scone –  and we learned a lot about horses from Nick Brasch. And then we got inside the mind of those whose minds we usually run away from with professor Anne Buist. Scary but amazing. And those were just some of the events on offer.

Moderator extraordinaire, Leonie Rogers; Ged Gillmore; Kaz; Sam Turnbull; Anne Buist

Moderator extraordinaire, Leonie Rogers; Ged Gillmore; Kaz; Sam Turnbull; Anne Buist

We got to peruse and buy books from the eternally sweet Ian Millgate from Hunt a Book, and I got to hang out with my precious library mates Elizabeth and Sharon. It was a weekend to make you think and to learn, to absorb, to question – and yet encouraged you to relax and to enjoy.

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Gossip? I did promise didn’t I? Hmnnn…    Okay so gossip is never as much fun when names are deleted to protect the innocent – or guilty – but in the sense of ‘what happens in Scone stays in Scone’ that’s what I need to do.

So, I learned of one author who threw a Murder Mystery Party only to have a guest die on the night! Wow! Then I was reminded of someone who famously made a throw-away thoughtless social media comment as she flew out of Heathrow to a foreign destination (for work) and whose life had been completely destroyed by the time she arrived at that destination. Sacked from her job and the world hating her as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of pieces of hate mail posted at her.  Imagine… (Big reminder to think before posting, guys. There’s no room for naivety anymore)   And finally, I heard a reader admit quietly that she hadn’t liked a particular author’s work but then she met them and now she was going to go back and have another try at their work. Interesting…  Very interesting.

So, huge, huge thank you to Anne Davies and her amazing committee. Every person was so helpful and welcoming – Dorothy, Steve, Sarah – those are just three I remember, and to Leonie for being a brilliant moderator.  And to all those who prepared and served the delicious food. If I’d been able to stay for the soiree, my weekend would have been even more magical.

Scone Literary Long Weekend –  you’re very sophisticated for a two year old – and may you grow old and stay as vibrant and energizing as you were this year – 2015.

It’s Spring!

The sun is shining, the beans are popping their heads up out the soil, the strawberries 20150929_12090720150929_121145 (1)are flourishing, the fledgling tomatoes are standing strong and straight on their sturdy stems, the blueberries have burst into flower – and I have a newly organised and structured office which has cleared my head as well as the space around me. And as a result? I have come to life!

I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how many garbage bags of stuff I disposed of over the past couple of weeks – but if we played that guessing game, I’d hint that it might be more than twenty and less than thirty. W.O.W. This time I was ruthless. But really? Did I really need 18 copies of my first manuscript??? What I DID save,was the handwritten version which is pretty spesh. When ‘Cassie Who’  sold, I brought my first computer with the proceeds. That’ll give you an idea of how long ago that was. Sheesh!

The clearing out was hard work, but I loved it. It was inspiring and invigorating – and maybe that had a lot to do with the weather. I love spring and summer. I always figure I must be solar-powered because when most people are wilting with the steamy weather in summer, I am energised and raring to go!  I love it!

And I need to be energised! I have an amazing book coming out in January with Allen & Unwin – my first foray into rural romance for many a year. According to my publisher, The Reluctant Jillaroo is:

... genuinely sweet, romantic and a page turner. I'm not a country girl, 
but reading THE RELUCTANT JILLAROO made me feel all wistful for the open 
air, big skies, horse-riding and campfires. It's come together beautifully! So thank you for all your hard work. You've written a beauty!

Who could ask for better praise than that? After a torrid time with the edits, I was mightily relieved to hear that!

So what else do I have to be energised for? My first foray into self publishing! That’s what! This is for an ebook that will come as a freebie to anyone who buys the novel! And what an amazing journey that’s been! So much to learn! That said, I’m working with a great team at Book Café. Plus I have a very astute freelance proofreader/editor in Judith Worland, plus a great cover gal in Helen Katsini! Blessed!

And there’s way, way more – but I’ll feed that through slowly as the days move on and warm up even more. I always have too much to say at one time {wow – you’d never have guessed right? 😉 }

How has the season change affected you? Last night we celebrated the lovely weather with bourbon-laced sticky pork ribs, followed by pears in red wine. Maybe not the perfect pairing, but delish nonetheless. I hope you’re enjoying this amazing weather as much as I am.