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.


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
 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.


Let’s play Author Tag!

dalenoflowerBig bone-crushing Kaz hugs to Dale Harcombe for inviting me to be part of this Author Chain. It was as much fun being tagged as it was tagging other – what a cool game! (And I didn’t even break a sweat! Now, that’s my kind of game…)
 Dale is such an interesting person – not only an author of books, she’s authored and created all kinds of fascinating works including articles, puppet plays (mega cool!), skits, finger plays, songs for little people and a radio play which was broadcast in 2005!  And she’s an owl-aholic! She adores and collects owls – well, images and recreations of them anyway.
Her latest book  Streets on a Map is a poignantly beautiful book that will keep you turning the pages right to the very last one.StreetsOnAMapCOVER
As Dee White said: ‘The action just keeps coming in Streets On A  Map, and keeps the reader turning the pages wondering what’s going to happen next to the characters they have come to know’.
Dale is also the queen of titles. I’ve always loved the title Streets On A Map, and her work in progress has another wonderfully evocative title: Sandstone Madonna. Good or what?
Thank you for tagging me Dale! And good luck with your WIP!

So, now to play the game. Every author tagged has to answer these same four questions – so here I go…

Q1: What am I working on?

Okay, don’t judge me but I have two works on the go. I’m not revealing titles as I never do that publicly until I know they’re in the bag. I work hard to find interesting titles, they don’t come naturally to me, so I like to keep them close until I’m sure. However, one is a fun – but tricky   – work for boys 7-10.My issues with this are huge.I have a character I love – who’s a bit extraordinary but not extremely so, therefore do I make him more extraordinary in the real world, or make his world so wild that he Almost Deadappears to be the sane centre? Decisions, decisions. This story is a diversion that’s eating at me as I write the next YA which is a follow on to Almost Dead. 

Q2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I began answering this in so many different ways. Do I act all coy and pretend that I don’t think my work is different? Or do I let my ego reign? Okay, ego wins: Maybe if I had to seriously pinpoint a difference it might be humour?  Mixing humour and horror/mystery? I do also have habit of creating characters that are, initially, hard to love. Almost Dead and Princesses Don’t Sweat are two  that fall into that category. As an author it’s a huge risk – what if the reader gives up too soon? But if they stay with it, the payoff is worth it. At least that’s what I think…  Macey  the protagonist and star of Almost Dead was such a tough character to write. To make her likeable – even loveable – and not lose her in the process was one of my toughest writing journeys. But I think we pulled it off and for me, that’s the payoff.

Q3: Why do I write what I write?

You know, I doubt that many serious authors would differ in their answers to this question. Not much anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here – I believe authors are born, not made. I don’t think we have a choice. It’s a fire that burns hard inside us and doesn’t ever let up.  After that, it’s finding where you fit. I started my career writing for adults and I suspect I may end up there again because a part of me still wants to write for grown ups as well, but when I first discovered YA fiction it felt like I’d come home.  I haven’t lost that wonder yet. Writing for kids is similar.  If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say the success I’ve had in these genres is largely due to the fact that I haven’t grown up yet. It helps… 😉

Q4: How does my writing process work?

Um seriously,  I think it changes with every book.  Sometimes a character will come to me who is so compelling, so much fun, that it’s simply a matter of finding his or her story. Sometimes it’s even easier than that. Like a story for young readers I wrote recently called Penelope Plotter. As soon as her name drifted into my head her story appeared.  It pretty well wrote itself.

The idea for this last series of YA books, those I affectionately refer to as my Dead Books: Dead, Actually and Almost Dead ( and no, I don’t have a fascination with death. Much), came from three words emblazoned diagonally across a teen mag: It’s a Bitchfest.  Those words resonated; grabbed me.  But I wanted more than just the usual Mean Girl scenario. I like ‘story’ and plenty of it – and I liked the idea of the dead

It's Live!

communicating with the living. And I LOOOOOVE a good mystery – a good ‘whodunnit’.   And what teen story would be worth its salt if it didn’t have a few romantic sparks tossed in to keep the poor heroine off balance just when she needs a cool head more than ever?

I guess that kind of sums up both Dead ActuallyAllen & Unwin March 2012,  and Almost Dead, Allen & Unwin, Jan 2014.

Would you agree? Am I brave enough to cope with the answers? of course I am (she says grabbing the family-sized bag of Smarties and chewing furiously, manically even… Her eyes twitch, her lip quivers.) “Of course I’m brave enough,” she repeats to anyone who’ll listen. “I think…”

Almost Dead is available at all good bookstores – if they don’t have it maybe they’re not so good <g> so ask them to order it.

Or online at Booktopia

It’s also available as an e-book. Check out for all the deets! 

 On that note I’m handing over to three amazing, wonderful authors and friends whose work I so admire – and ruthlessly tagged.    Two belong in the crazy bin with me, and the other is here to give us much needed class. And that’s all I’m saying. Mwahaha. (Now they’re all preening, each imagining she is the classy one. Snigger...) 

Cue the drumroll: Here they are in alphabetical order because I’m like that and  because I don’t want any of them to cry themselves to sleep because they think I love one more than the other:

Amanda Ashby. 

Amanda Ashby writes young adult and middle grade books for Puffin inAmanda Ashby photo 2 the US. She was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)


Demonosity cover

Ebony McKenna

Ebony McKenna writes about ferrets that talk in a countrybrugelswimsuit stuck in a ‘post-soviet, but pre functioning internet’  time warp.
Her Ondine series began in 2010 with The Summer of Shambles, and was followed up with the sequel, The Autumn Palace. It is now joined by the trequel, The Winter of Magic, which is available where all good ebooks are sold.
She loves trivia nights, train sets and the Eurovision Song Contest.
When not writing, she can be found on the following social media outlets:
Ondine # 3 The Winter of Magic
Sally Murphy
Sally Murphy has written over 30 books and still IMG_2277has time to study, teach and run a review site, Aussie Reviews!  Oh and look after her six children… Her wonderful picture book (That’s me, Kaz saying that!)  –Do Not Forget Australia – was evocative  and heart-warming despite dealing with the tragedy of war. A definite keeper for every bookshelf.
These three gals will be answering the same four q’s next Monday, 17th Feb, so don’t forget to look out for them and what they have to say! This is indeed a feast of authors!
Till next time!
shutterstock lips

Win!!! Better Odds Than Lotto! Prizes Galore!


Never felt lucky? I know the feeling but trust me – and I don’t need my psychic friend Zoradastramas to back this up – THIS could be YOUR lucky day!

At the moment 3 blogs are offering no less than 6 copies of my books: 4 x Almost Dead and 2 x Dead Actually! Think about this! Winning one of these books is way, way more likely than winning lotto! And you don’t even have to buy a ticket!

And there are about to be more!  But to current news first. 

Yesterday I was honoured to be featured on two exciting blogs, both offering books prizes, so if you’d like to win a copy of Almost Dead, pop along and check them out.

1) Ebony Mckenna Blogspot.Ebony McKenna 

Ebs, author of the famed and wonderfully entertaining  Ondine series, and I met at an RWA fancy dress cocktail  party. She was dressed as a Bondgirl/Spy and I went as a ?detective/spy in a trench, sunnies and fedora. She sidled up to me and, as the story goes, whispered, “Boris, in Moscow it is cold in Winter” or something similar. I reputedly replied with, “Natasha! Have you seen a moose and a squirrel?”  That night a friendship was born  and Boris and Natasha got up to some amazing hijinks  that included slinking around poles (not dancing unfortunately), commando rolls (well, my arthritic version) around corners and generally being ridiculous. We were also versed in how to say: “I’ll meet you under the table” in Russian by a HarperCollins editor who shall remain nameless to protect her reputation.  That  tone continued when Ebony coerced me into letting my hair down on her blog that was posted yesterday. It’s a bit of a giggle and just pure fun – so drop in  and go in the draw for a copy of Almost Dead.

2) Jess Fitzpatrick – Never Ending BooshelfKaz launch w jess fitzpatrick

The gorgeous blogger/author/reviewer Jess Fitzpatrick and I met for the first time only a couple of weeks ago when she was a surprise guest at my book launch. She’s a complete sweetheart and a more passionate advocate of Australian women’s fiction you will be hard pressed to find.  Smart, savvy, informed and generous.  Today, she’s participating in the Australia Day Blog Hop and has books prizes on offer also by my great mate Lee Christine, who writes spine tingling Romantic Suspense, and Whitney EK,  author of the acclaimed ‘What happens In Ireland‘.  I think there are about 8 books on offer here! Chances galore! Please drop by and take a look. m/2014/01/25/australiadaybloghopgiveaway/

Jess also very kindly and unexpectedly blogged about the Book Launch of Almost Dead. And you’ll find her report here. For me, it was fascinating seeing it from a different perspective.

3) Karen TyrrellKaren Tyrrell BEST  457 KB-1

And don’t forget Karen Tyrrell, mental health advocate, and author of her latest book  Bailey Beat the Blah ,  who kicked off the Almost Dead Fest with her blog last Wednesday. There are still chances to win on her blog as well!

Sheesh! I feel like Santa Claus! This is fabulous!

4) There’s more happening tomorrow for Almost Dead with Sally Murphy!

Until then – I hope you’ll all be flat out like lizards drinking as you celebrate this day in  good old Aussie style.  Good on ya mates!

shutterstock lips Almost Dead

Wow – I’m being Immortalised in Clay!

Okay – maybe not me per se – but just as good.  My book! ‘Almost Dead’ will be immortalised in clay.  Well, an artist’s perception of the book will be immortalised in clay.  And that’s even more exciting. Almost Dead

Can you believe this? I’m so excited I want to jump and shout! Oh. That’s normal, right? Okay then, I want to jump and shout while swinging flaming batons! (And anyone who knows how clumsy I am will know that this is BIG because normally no one would ever put (myself included) me and anything flaming and swinging in the same room. So that will tell you how crazy excited I am: I’m even throwing caution to the wind! And probably my hair…)

So, what’s the deal?  Okay so, this clay/ceramic sculpture will be part of an exhibition called SUBTEXT. Here’s the media release.

” SUBTEX is a group exhibition celebrating the links between literature and the visual arts. It is a representation of concepts expressed in literature transposed into visual images through the fine arts. This is not a new idea. Historically we can trace the links between the two forms of expression, the language of the written word and visual representation. Perhaps the most prevalent has been images inspired by the Bible. The Divine Comedy has also inspired many including the famous works by Blake. Looking for new subjects the Pre-Raphaelites drew on Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson while in contemporary times the appropriation of literature by postmodern artists often create a multi layered interpretation.

Newcastle has a rich cultural community. In this exhibition a group of thirteen professional artists from the area has taken the writings of a group of Newcastle authors to create a visual narrative in their respective art form.

Artists include Brett Alexander; Brian Cox; Jan Downes; Caroline Hale; Varelle Hardy; Ann-Maree Hunter; Barry Maitland; Margaret McBride; Giselle Penn; Sharon Taylor; Sharon Tompkins; Sylvia Ray and Sue Stewart.

The amazing Sue Stewart contacted me and announced she’d chosen my book, Almost Dead, for her work in the exhibition! I love Sue’s work. I’ve followed her for years and have several of her early pieces in my home.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. I know it involves a handbag and in fact she’s chosen one of my own – a hot pink leather Guess that I adore, as her inspiration. 

But the rest will rest in her very talented hands. This is truly such an honour and I simply can’t wait until March 27th and the exhibition opening.

Down a bit further is a peek  at some of her later works. Can you see why I’m excited?

Rosemarie MilsomThis exhibition will be running during the fantabulous  Newcastle Writer’s Festival (Apr 4-6) , now in its second year,  which will kick off with an official opening the next night by NWF Director, Rosemarie Milsom  (pictured left) on Friday 28th. What an amazing week for Newcastle! 

Now let’s take a peek at some of these Sue Stewart masterpieces. 

Sue Stewart 1 


Sue Stewart 4

Sue Stewart 3

Amazing Shoes and “Dead, Actually” Book Give-away. It doesn’t get better. (Unless there’s ice cream???)

So, it’s no secret I love shoes. The sparklier, the less practical, the more they draw me. So, while I can’t say that it was a conscious decision to have a stiletto shoe as a continuing motif through Dead, Actually’ – I feel quite strongly that it was probably prompted by that subconscious fascination with (often) totally inappropriate footwear. Though, maybe not quite as inappropriate as those on the left… 

So, in honour of that shoe motif and in honour of shoe freaks, like me, everywhere, today I’m going to share some of the craziest shoes I’ve ever seen. I first saw some of these on my friend Maree Anderson blog ages and ages ago, so I have to pay homage to her for prompting me to go searching for more. Big Mexican Waves, Maree! Tsunami sized!

Today also marks the final day of Release Week for me. We’ve got heaps coming up – like blog tours and more fabbo comps, and I’ll be giving you the skinny on those as there are some delish prizes to be won. Sterling silver/Swarovski crystal bracelets (Yes!!)  Books (Thank you A&U), BE make-up sets. Handbags – yes(!) gorgeous Juicy Couture handbags. If you’ve read the book you get the reference.

All things girly and fitting for the upmarket stars of Dead, Actually – Willow, JoJo, Macey et al. But for just a little while,  we end the daily prize grab. That said, there are always monthly prizes on this blog – so it’s kinda always party time.

Today’s give-away is a copy of Dead, Actually courtesy of Allen & Unwin PLUS a gorgeous sparkly stiletto that you can use as a bag tag, a Chrissie dec or just something to hang and drool over. I ah-dor it!!

BTW – the mugs arrived! So, I’ll be checking on that winner in a mo


We’re also doing something a bit different today – and I’m blatantly stealing this idea from my friend Peter Taylor! He totally conned me into signing up as a follower of his blog today – and I loved it!

Okay – so you don’t have to allow yourself to be conned or tricked or be persuaded by any of those or other semi-illegal methods – but if you DO decided to play along, I promise you’ll be mentioned in my will. Promise…Pinky swear…

Here’s the skinny: To be in the draw, you only ever need to come and say hi. Or you could tell me which pair of shoes here is the weirdest. That will get you into the draw. How could you get TWO chances in the draw? Sign up for my blog! And that’s whether you comment or not!

“Peter Taylor you’re either a genius or a Kamikaze Pilot!”

Why? ‘Cos you’ll all either join the fun in the spirit it’s intended; ignore me and drop in occasionally anyway – or you’ll go running off and never speak to me again. Eek! Sob!  Please don’t let it be the latter. I don’t handle rejection…

Okay, so I’ll stop blathering and deliver my promise of more crazy shoes. Enjoy! (Note: I tried to get designer names for these shoes but failed for most.  The cage shoes are by Polly Verity. The hoof-feet *could* be by Iris Schieferstein because I found some that were very similar. Many designs are by Kobi Levi (also at) who designed those double boots for Lady Gaga.

Get it? It's a shoe stuck in gum. The pink heel is the stretched gum.

Horse's hooves? Homage to cloven-animalia?

Lunch on the run?Sorry, couldn't resist...

Have to admit - these are totally weird but totally gorgeous...

Spotto! More Sightings! UFOs? No! ‘Dead, Actuallys’!

So, it’s almost the end of RELEASE WEEK and with promotion, planning a launch party, trying to get the next book written – and juggling the day job, life is pretty crazy. Which could be the reason I’m taking an easy way out today – and simply posting some sighting photeys.

And one is even mine because this weekend I finally got to sneak out for a peak at Dead on the shelves!

Mt Hutton NSW

And how exciting was it to find only ONE left at my local Big W.  Well, there were two but after we’d taken the photo and then made one more pass-by, there was only one! (Do you know how tempted I was to search every trolley and offer an autograph??? I had to be forcibly removed from the store for demanding bag searches!! )

But back to the sighting – even better, Dead, Actually, (also available as an e-book)  was on a centre aisle stand, which was very cool, but I wasn’t exactly sure of the placement near men’s underwear???

Added to that there have been two more shots sent in. One from Woden in the ACT and on from Penrith NSW.

And here they are!

This Woden shot was sent in by the gorgey AJ Macpherson

Woden ACT

and I was so excited but just a tad worried. I’m not paranoid. Much. But, unlike the other shots that have been sent, if you look closely, Woden seems to have  PILE of books left! No! No! No! Woden people! That’s not how we do it!  We must get them OFF the shelves, so everybody listen up:

People of Woden: Should you choose to accept it, THIS is your mission. And that is to get people, by fair means or foul, to buy that book. Use force if you have to.

If you keep the end in sight this will be far less painful for everybody. Got it?

Now, on the other hand,  the Penrith people seem to have nailed the drill.  When Paula Roe was there on Saturday, they didn’t have many copies left at all! Maybe that was because she bought them all, but that’s completely beside the point.  Completely…

Paula & stash @ Penrith

So anyhoo, what are we giving away today? Well – it’s a mug full of choccies but you’ll have imagine the choccies in the mug because the mug hasn’t arrived yet!! They tell me today – so fingers crossed. However, here’s what it will look like – but full of choccies!  And I’m sure there’ll be some other things to fatten the kitty – like a gorgeous Dead, Actually lipstick pen…

This mug, of course, is a numbered mug from the House of Delaney and will one day be worth a squillion… Trust me on that. Do you really want to risk not being in the draw to win what could one day be your self-funded retirement nest egg? 

And how do you actually get into said draw?

Simply pop in and say hi. It’s that’s simple. Tomorrow there’s a copy of the actual book, ‘Dead, Actually’ up for grabs, and we’ll be talking about a serious topic close to my hearty. Shoes. See you there? I hope so!

Release Day – Prizes and Fun!

It's Live!

Today’s the Day!! Big celebs; big par-tays, big hair, big smiles and big bowls of Smarties!  Whatever I’m doing today will be BIG. Today, February 27th to be exact, is the day that Dead, Actually hits book stands all over Australia. I’m about to go out hunting it down; to wish it well and tell it to perform and behave. No scrap that. I don’t care if it doesn’t behave – I want it to stand out!

And I’ll be taking photos! And it would be such fun if you could play along with me? Let’s play SPOTTO!

Here’s the 411: if you see Dead Actually anywhere on the shelves and you’re able to catch that on camera, please send it in and we’ll post it here!  I’m happy to run this game indefinitely, <g>  but we’ll at least be doing it for this debut month. All contributors will go into the draw for a fabbo prize fit for a gal who knows she’s special and deserving…

But wait there’s more. Every day this week there will be a prize. It’s my way of saying thank you, I love you and I love that you’re helping me celebrate.  All you have to do is leave a comment. Easy!

Today’s prize?  It sparkles and glitters – and it’s useful. OMG – I’m in love. It’s the most gorgeous silver-coated book mark that is topped with a heart of diamentes. And of course we’ll throw in some choccies and some swag!

Please just drop in and say hi, or if you’d rather, tell me if you’ve ever seen a ghost. A real live – or is that dead(?) – ghost. In Dead, Actually, Willow has a resident one:  JoJo.  A totally difficult, demanding, bitchy ghost who is making Willow’s life a misery. Understandably the first time she ‘saw’ JoJo she completely freaked out.

                The road to insanity takes twelve minutes. I’ve timed it.    

               That’s how long it took for me to get from Pete’s to my house, charge up the  stairs and dive into my room. Twelve minutes before the first strangled scream was ripped from my throat.         

          Contrary to popular belief, the air in hell is freezing – because surely that’s where I’d somehow landed.  My breath caught; my heart jerked…              

         My body froze.             

        My brain shut down.       

        I clutched at the doorframe.

       But still she stared at me.

       Her… A dead person. In my room.

      Let me clarify: not a body, a dead person.

      An already-buried dead person.

      Call me naive, but never once had I asked myself what I’d do if ever I found a dead person in my bedroom. Or anywhere for that matter.

      Now I knew. Scream and bolt.

       Which I did. I bolted straight out of that room and was halfway back down the stairs before I realised that I was being crazy; that buried dead people cannot just turn up in your room. That JoJo was an illusion; she wasn’t real.        

        Still, I didn’t barge back in, I kind of slid my head around the  door, ready to run again if I had to.  

      “Are you through playing hide and seek?” JoJo’s bored voice reached over and froze me to the spot. “If you are, perhaps you could come in and tell me what I’m doing here.”    

     I shook my head and remained right where I was. “You’re not real. You don’t exist. I’m just seeing things.”  This had to be a stress-induced hallucination.  

   She flicked imaginary lint – oh wait, this was my house, it was probably real lint – off her hot pink top and frowned at me like I was lower on the food chain that the dust she was picking off herself. I was still staring. I recognised that top. She’d been wearing it that last day…

 Willow coped pretty well, really. But then it helps of the dead person insists on giving you a hard time, and trust me, it gets bad.

 I have to say I’m a sucker for ghost stories. Love them… Have you ever seen a ghost? Do you believe in them?  What do you think you’d do if you saw one?

Please drop in and say hi. I’d love, love to celebrate this special time with you. Don’t forget the week is full of prizes.

Oh – and in case you missed the book trailer? Enjoy!